Tag Archives: petcoke

Friday Linkage 2/24/2017

November 9th was a day of some serious despair, but I see a lot of potential in the awakening of a progressive spirit and an exposure of the right wing’s anti-people agenda.  Yes, it will be a lot of work to make any kind of meaningful change given the dynamics of elections in the U.S.  Yes, Donald Trump is a dumpster fire in human form that happens to inhabit the Oval Office.  However, there has been a spark that has ignited a liberal fire like no other time in recent memory.

On to the links…

U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions Lowest Since 1994—A lot of this decline has to do with the replacement of coal with natural gas in the electrical generation sector and a recession that dampened demand across a whole host of industries.  Nonetheless, the data is compelling:


The Future of Solar Power Technology is Bright—No matter what the political environment looks like in the future, the potential of solar is very real.

Record Wind & Solar Keep The Lights On In NSW As Coal & Gas Went Missing—Renewable energy can make the grid more reliable.  This should put the argument about intermittency to bed.

Wind Technician Jobs Growing, in Iowa and Nationally—The sooner that everyone realizes that there are more people working in renewable energy jobs, like wind turbine technicians, the sooner that we can get past the narrative of coal jobs being the only energy jobs that matter.

Drilling Experts Explain why Trump Can’t Bring Back Oilfield Jobs—The jobs will not be coming back because like coal before it automation and market changes are driving the need for actual human labor down.

University of Iowa Announces it will be Coal-Free by 2025—Each power generating facility or consumer that goes coal-free is another brick in the wall in eliminating coal from our energy infrastructure.  Yes, it will take a long time.  Yes, it is inevitable if we keep up the pressure.

Petcoke Piles Gone, but Another Dangerous Pollutant Discovered in the Air—If you think that there is no place for the EPA it is likely that you do not live in a community affected by this kind of pollution.  Low income communities are at the mercy of polluters because they do not have the political clout of the Koch brothers.

Which Ski Run Is Better for the Planet?—Ski hills go out of business.  What comes after is hard to imagine as you spend your days sliding.  However, the way we develop ski runs can make a major difference for the next stage of the land’s lifecycle.

Almost Every Packaged Food Comes from These Two Companies—The merger between Kraft Heinz and Unilever may have died, but this should give you some sense as to how consolidated the center aisles of the grocery store have become.

Olive Oil Shortage Looms as Prices and Demand Rise—Climate change has come for our coffee, chocolate, and hops.  Now olive oil is the crosshairs.  When will the larger populace realize that the impacts of climate change is here.

Fifth of World’s Food Lost to Over-Eating and Waste—Food insecurity is not a question of production it is a question of distribution, availability, and affordability.  It is a god damned shame that we live in a world where a significant portion of the world’s population is overweight while a similarly large portion of the world’s population is food insecure.


Friday Linkage 10/18/2013

I am sorry that this is going to be a somewhat brief set of links, but I am in Florida on vacation and do not have access to computing resources.  This is not the fault of Florida, although I do love to blame the state for many things, but rather a conscious choice to keep the evils of work related email from ruining my time off.

On to the links…

Florida Panther Bolts from Holding Box into the Wild—Everything in Florida is not bad.  Here is a great picture of a panther, rescued as a kitten, being released into the wild:


Photo is from the Florida Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Hawaiian Monk Seal’s Extraordinary Life Illustrates Conservation Challenges—Kamilo, a 6-month old Hawaiian monk seal, has already had a pretty eventful life.  Recently, the monk seal was relocated to Nihau after playfully nipping some swimmers off the shores of the Big Island.  These critically endangered marine mammals face so many challenges.

The Ambitious Restoration of an Undammed Western River—The slow restoration of the Elwha River in Washington is an amazing story of our capacity to right environmental wrongs.  The story is not complete and the restoration of the watershed has a long way to go, but the seeds are present.

The Secret to Resiliency: Neighbors—When facing a system that degrades into chaos, resiliency is going to be critical.  Too often, however, the systems we design to face chaos are engineered around a single point of failure—the individual.  If you rely on a single person—yourself—to maintain survival you are invariably going to fail.

SolarCity Expects to Install 80% More System in 2014 versus 2013—SolarCity released guidance for FY14 that showed it expects a pretty sporty increase in the number of systems it install in terms of year-over-year change.  This is wicked good because it is putting PV systems on roofs in a visible way that speeds adoption by other interested parties.

Putting Robots to Work in Solar Energy—Every day brings a story about how technology is bringing down the balance of system costs that have remained stubbornly high while panel costs have shrunk dramatically.  For large installations the answer might be robot labor to take care of the tedious tasks.

Norway’s Massive Government Pension Fund might be Invested in Renewables—If you want to talk about a game changer, look no further than Norway’s oil wealth fund or Government Pension Fund.   Currently, it stands at approximately $790B and it might be investing in renewables.  That much money being pumped into the sector would move the needle.

After Sparking Outrage In Detroit, Koch Brothers’ Tar Sands Waste Now Piling Up In Chicago—It looks like the Koch Brothers or their related companies are looking to move the mess of petcoke from the shores of Detroit to Chicago.  Apparently, property along the Calumet River may become home to this nasty crap.

250 Pasta Shapes You Should Know—Just 250?  I will get right on it:

Pasta Pasta

I might have to buy the poster from Pop Chart Labs.

Drought-Hardy Barley Could Save Your Beer—The world is heading toward a future that is hotter and drier, in general, which does not bode well for my beer habit.  Some scientists in Germany are trying to create drought tolerant barley that will allow future generations to enjoy some beer.

Drinking With Your Eyes: How Wine Labels Trick Us Into Buying—Damn marketers, make a label pretty and I want to buy it.  But what about those simple, artisan hipster labels?  Does that repulse me?

Cockroach Farms Multiplying in China—Why do I think that we are going to be reading stories in the not too distant future that talk about Chinese meat being raised on a diet of insect protein?  Granted, the story is about the use of cockroaches in the cosmetic industry and traditional Asian medicines.  I am just waiting for feed blocks to show up at a Smithfield plant comprised of compressed cockroach bodies.

Friday Linkage 9/20/2013

My heart really goes out to all of the people suffering from the flooding on the Front Range in Colorado.  Our friends and family in the area have been spared the worst of the damage and continue to live in their homes unlike so many others in communities across the region.  As someone who witnessed the flood of 2008 in Cedar Rapids, which devastated a large swath of the metro area, I hope that everyone understands just how long it takes to recover from a natural disaster like this.

On to the links…

Flood-Ravaged Boulder, Colo., Sets Annual Rainfall Record—This chart is just mind blowing:


Imagine going from long-term drought conditions to flood ravaged.  Well, that is what happened to a large swatch of the Front Range over the past couple of weeks.

One Weird Trick to Fix Farms Forever—If you have ever seen the difference between soil that is tended to like David Brandt’s versus traditional farm soil than you would wonder why anyone would use any other method.  The difference is stunning.  We need to stop thinking about our farming as getting crops out of the soil, but rather as building soil.  The crops will come if the soil is healthy.

Germany’s Effort at Green Energy Proves Complex—Really?  Changing over from a century or more of fossil fuels would be complex?  I cannot imagine.  The real crux of this story is that consumers in Germany have been forced to bear higher costs because over 700 companies are shielded from the higher costs.  Nice handout to industry.

U.S. Installed 832 MW of Solar PV in Q2 2013—Growth in the solar PV sector has been solid for the past year.  Disregarding the big spike in Q4 2012, the result of regulatory uncertainty and a rush to ensure tax credits, there had been a steady upward trend.  Let’s hope it continues.

Wind Power Generation at Record Levels in 4 Australian States—South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, and New South Wales all broke records for wind power generation in August.  Too bad elections in that country are likely to slow renewable energy progress.

Ocean Thermal Energy Could Power the Entire Big Island of Hawaii—Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) is a pretty cool idea in that it uses the naturally occurring temperature gradient of the ocean to create clean energy.  I just do not get why Hawaii does not utilize more geothermal given the proximity of resources, but whatever.

Detroit’s Dirty Petcoke Disappeared, but Where did it Go?—The gigantic piles of nasty petcoke on the lakeshore in Detroit are gone, but where did they go?  Oh those crafty Koch brothers…

Your Half-Eaten Sandwich’s Dirty Secret—Food waste is a huge problem.  How big?  Worldwide food waste would be the third largest source of greenhouse gas emissions if it were considered a country.  Eat those leftovers please.

Chicken is Killing the Planet—I think you could probably amend the headline to read “Meat is Killing the Planet,” but I will accept the chicken story.

In Pursuit of Tastier Chickens, a Strict Diet of Four-Star Scraps—Here’s another idea of how chicken should be raised.  I would be interested to see the results in that I wonder how much difference in taste that there would be between the different feed regimens.

Factory Farms from Above—I do not know if these images run afoul of “ag gag” laws, but the imagery is amazing and disturbing at the same time.  The scale is just humongous.

Sprawling, Gorgeous Photo Project Dives Deep Into the Life and Heavy Industries of Rivers—Rivers are amazing landscapes.  Particularly because these waterways were so industrialized in the early part of U.S. history.  Now, the industry is gone or withering and the landscape remains.

In South Florida, a Polluted Bubble Ready to Burst—If I wanted to there could be a weekly post entitled “Crazy Stuff Going Down in Florida.”  I actually think it would be pretty cool to do that.  Lake Okeechobee and the entire South Florida water system is a mess.

Greener Alternatives to Spray Foam Insulation—I am so glad that our builder moved us away from using spray foam.  I was enamored with the stuff after watching Mike Holmes use it in almost every show like it was magic fairy dust for home problems.  Every week seems to bring a new finding about how the stuff is less magic and more nasty.  Hooray for dense pack cellulose.

Lots of Ideas for Using Mason Jars—Are mason jars the hipster Swiss army knife?  Seriously, every day I run across a story that finds another use for these humble glass containers.  Did you know that you can probably thread a mason jar onto your blender base in place of the glass pitcher?  Yep, direct to container blending.  Dig it.

Friday Linkage 7/12/2013

It is almost mind blowing how time just flies during the summer.  You spend the week doing a few things in the yard, attend a few teeball games, and suddenly it’s Friday afternoon. The weather has been beautiful and I am really looking forward to a lot of unstructured time this weekend to work on a few projects that have been lingering.  I promise that there will be some non-beer related posts in the near future.  Of course, there will also be some beer related posts as well.

On to the links…

What’s in the Water: Searching Midwest Streams for Crop Runoff—This is one of those problems that people do not ever really think about, but field runoff is a huge problem here in Iowa.  This is especially true when the fields have recently been treated with waste from hog CAFOs.  Yep, there is shit in the water.

How Can You Give A Community Better Health?—I have watched several presentations by Ron Finley and I have loved every one of them.  His line about people in poor neighborhoods being killed not by drive bys, but by drive throughs is priceless wordsmithing.

Scientists Work to Perfect Broccoli—I would argue that sans-genetic engineering broccoli was already pretty much perfect.  Sure, the heads of broccoli in the grocery store are often inedible bunches of bitter tasting green stuff.  But, a fresh head of broccoli during the cool season is a perfect treat.

Monsanto Is Losing the Press—Big Ag’s problems keep piling up because the problems are legion.  If it’s not genetically modified wheat showing up in Oregon, it’s scientific studies questioning the health impacts of GMO crops or citizens demanding that products be labeled in such a way to make it apparent that the food contains GMO ingredients.  It’s got to be like holding back the sea for these guys.

Republicans are Happy to Help Big Ag, but Feed the Hungry…Not so Much—I just do not understand the conservative furor over the food stamp or SNAP program.  Why is feeding people who are the most vulnerable something to cut from the federal budget when sacred cows like defense spending survive.  Gotta’ keep those defense contractor CEOs in the steak dinner!

Your Clothes Biggest Ecological Impact is not What You Think—Big surprise…it’s the lifecycle of an item that really measures its impact on this planet.  I try to get people to think about lifecycle costs and embedded energy all the time.  It rarely works.

Solar Costs and Grid Prices on a Collision Course—Every day the cost to deploy solar gets lower.  Considering that the fuel to keep a solar PV panel running is free for eternity—assuming energy companies don’t figure out a way to restrict our access to the sun—the lifecycle costs are going to be low.  Solar power is part of the energy solution.  People just need to deal with that reality.

The Coal Industry Knows That Enviros Are Winning—The game is over for coal in general because everyone realizes that it is the fuel of the past.  The real question becomes how do we unwind modern society from the coal hydra without causing massive disruption.

Bad Infrastructure Design Leads to Bad Bike Behavior—People are surprised by this idea?  Why?  When I am on my bicycle, particularly if I am commuting somewhere, I am more worried about staying alive and unharmed as opposed to being a good citizen.  Sorry, but arriving alive is the first order of the day.

Climate Change: Summer Bummer For Your Fourth Of July?—And if you needed any reminders about climate change, here is an infographic to totally bum you out:


China’s Beaches Overwhelmed by Algae—But, if you think you’ve got it bad in the U.S. just check out what China’s beaches look like covered in a thick blanket of algae.  What does 20,000 tons of algae even look like?

Piling Up Keystone XL’s Petcoke—If you thought 20,000 tons of algae was a disturbing proposition just think about what the petcoke byproduct would be like from the proposed Keystone XL pipeline: