The biofuels debacle is global warm-mongering in a nutshell: The first victims of poseur environmentalism will always be developing countries. In order for you to put biofuel in your Prius and feel good about yourself for no reason, real actual people in faraway places have to starve to death. On April 15, the Independent, the impeccably progressive British newspaper, editorialized: "The production of biofuel is devastating huge swathes of the world's environment. So why on earth is the Government forcing us to use more of it?"
You want the short answer? Because the government made the mistake of listening to fellows like you.
Mark Steyn, "Chickenfeedhawks: Global warm-mongering", National Review Online, 2008-04-26
I'd wondered about this . . . getting rid of broken compact fluorescent bulbs:
As long as the mercury is contained in the bulb, CFLs are perfectly safe. But eventually, any bulbs ó even CFLs ó break or burn out, and most consumers simply throw them out in the trash, said Ellen Silbergeld, a professor of environmental health sciences at Johns Hopkins University and editor of the journal Environmental Research.
ďThis is an enormous amount of mercury thatís going to enter the waste stream at present with no preparation for it,Ē she said.
Manufacturers and the EPA say broken CFLs should be handled carefully and recycled to limit dangerous vapors and the spread of mercury dust. But guidelines for how to do that can be difficult to find, as Brandy Bridges of Ellsworth, Maine, discovered.
"It was just a wiggly bulb that I reached up to change," Bridges said. "When the bulb hit the floor, it shattered."
When Bridges began calling around to local government agencies to find out what to do, "I was shocked to see how uninformed literally everyone I spoke to was," she said. "Even our own poison control operator didnít know what to tell me."
The sidebar to the article includes an 11-step process to clean up a broken CFL bulb.
H/T to Jon, my virtual landlord, for the link.
The automotive chaps at The Times take a Prius out for a real-world driving test against a BMW sedan. The results weren't as clear-cut as you'd imagine:
The next day it became clear my Prius did not like motorways, at least not at 75mph into a headwind. My trip meter informed me I was now averaging about 45mpg; the Prius was not going to make it to Geneva on just one tank.
I took the precaution of buying a 10-litre can and filling it with petrol. Sure enough, the dashboard soon informed me the fuel tank was empty, the petrol engine stopped and for two surreal miles I coasted along on battery power. Only when I approached a long steep uphill stretch did I finally drift to a halt. As I filled the tank I consoled myself with my last chocolate bar.
Coasting down the mountain into Geneva my Prius averaged 99.9mpg for a full 10 minutes. It was the highlight of my journey and improved my overall average fuel economy by a full 2mpg. But it was not enough. For all my defensive driving, slippery bodywork and hybrid technology, my average fuel consumption was 48.1mpg. Iíd lost to a Beemer and I was disappointed; I had never driven so slowly or carefully for so long in my life. Iím considering buying a V8 Range Rover and opening my own oil well in protest.
Lest it be said that the Prius is not intended to be used for long-distance travel, the writers arranged for a portion of the trip to be conducted in urban areas — where the Prius should shine on the fuel economy front — so that the test was more like a real-world trip than something concocted by advocates either for or against the Prius.
H/T to Mark Allums.
I believe in Gore, the Prophet All-Knowing, the Creator of the Internet, and in Global Warming, his brain-child:
Which was conceived from Global Cooling, born of his lust for power, after he suffered a stolen election and was considered dead politically.
He descended into Obesity.
The third year He rose again from the obscure, He ascended into media prominence, and sits at the right hand of Bono the Annoying, from whence he shall come to sell carbon credits to the suckers with guilty consciences.
I believe in the Mother Gaia, the holy Ecological Church, the communion of Hollywood stars, the forgiveness of consumerism, the recycling of all things, and life so miserable it seems everlasting.
Chris Claypoole, "The Global Warming Creed", Libertarian Enterprise, 2008-03-09
Declan McCullagh interviews Cypress Semiconductor CEO T.J. Rodgers:
Why the antipathy toward McCain?
There's an article in Reason magazine about McCain. He's anti-free speech. He's a war guy. Those are about as bad as you can get from a libertarian perspective.
I got turned off by him in a personal meeting. I made a presentation to him that the government is wasting hundreds of millions of dollars in (technology-related) pork barrel spending. I showed that the pork barrel spending is not only fundamentally bad, but also harmful to the people getting the money, the semiconductor industry. When I got done with the presentation, he labeled the pork barrel spending "peanuts." He poked his finger in my chest and said that he's "going to get rid of your big fat stock options."
He's in favor of stifling free speech. He's in favor of the war. He doesn't truly care about lean government. You'd have difficulty picking between him and George W. Bush.
[. . .]
You're making libertarian points. Why aren't there more libertarians, or at least out-of-the-closet libertarians, in Silicon Valley?
First of all, I think Silicon Valley people, if you gave them the world's smallest quiz, my belief is you'd find that people in Silicon Valley are highly libertarian but they don't even know what that phrase means. It's not part of their vernacular. Silicon Valley people are highly apolitical. They're worried about their businesses, they're worried about growth, they're worried about technology. Sometimes they get involved in politics. They get involved on both sides of the fence...
If you would look at the people in Silicon Valley who identify themselves as Republicans, you'll find that they're free-market Republicans. What I think you'd find is that Silicon Valley Democrats have an economic free market base to them, and therefore look a lot like libertarians. Silicon Valley Republicans... aren't restrictive on social issues. You're not going to find any anti-gay, redneck Republicans in Silicon Valley.
Because they don't care that much about politics, they don't get beyond the nuances. But if you took the next layer of detail, you'll find that regardless of how they identified themselves, both sides are libertarian-ish in their leanings.
You know the current campaign against plastic bags, urging people to avoid using them because they contribute to the deaths of millions of birds and sea mammals? Not so fast:
Campaigners say that plastic bags pollute coastlines and waterways, killing or injuring birds and livestock on land and, in the oceans, destroying vast numbers of seabirds, seals, turtles and whales. However, The Times has established that there is no scientific evidence to show that the bags pose any direct threat to marine mammals.
They "don't figure" in the majority of cases where animals die from marine debris, said David Laist, the author of a seminal 1997 study on the subject. Most deaths were caused when creatures became caught up in waste produce. "Plastic bags don't figure in entanglement," he said. "The main culprits are fishing gear, ropes, lines and strapping bands. Most mammals are too big to get caught up in a plastic bag."
He added: "The impact of bags on whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals ranges from nil for most species to very minor for perhaps a few species. For birds, plastic bags are not a problem either."
The central claim of campaigners is that the bags kill more than 100,000 marine mammals and one million seabirds every year. However, this figure is based on a misinterpretation of a 1987 Canadian study in Newfoundland, which found that, between 1981 and 1984, more than 100,000 marine mammals, including birds, were killed by discarded nets. The Canadian study did not mention plastic bags.
Fifteen years later in 2002, when the Australian Government commissioned a report into the effects of plastic bags, its authors misquoted the Newfoundland study, mistakenly attributing the deaths to "plastic bags".
The figure was latched on to by conservationists as proof that the bags were killers. For four years the "typo" remained uncorrected. It was only in 2006 that the authors altered the report, replacing "plastic bags" with "plastic debris". But they admitted: "The actual numbers of animals killed annually by plastic bag litter is nearly impossible to determine."
But don't worry . . . I'm sure that there'll be another scare along really soon to replace the "plastic bags are evil" meme.
As we contemplate another 30cm of snow starting later today, I had to agree with Den Lippert, who sent this highly appropriate winter greeting (NSFW):
Jon, my virtual landlord, sent along this BOFH link:
"So we'll end up with machines which'll slow themselves down at weird and inconvenient times and lose processing power while they ramp up in response to need?"
"No, I'm sure the bloke said you can tune them to only reduce to a certain point and to speed up recovery time. And with virtualisation you can tune them to consolidate virtual servers onto the least number of machines and shut the rest down till they're needed."
"Still sounds like Nancy-Boy boxes," I concur.
"A REAL computer has ONE speed and the only powersaving it permits is when you pull the power leads out of the back!" I blurt. "In fact, a REAL computer would have a hole in the front to push trees into and an exhaust pipe out the back for the black smoke to come out of."
"AND," the PFY adds. "they run so hot - even on screensaver - that they keep the room nice and toasty when you're not there - saves on heating."
"All that is a thing of the past though." the boss burbles. "The bloke was telling me that using mobile processor technology the..."
"What bloke?" I ask.
"Mmm?" the PFY says.
"Bloke... from... uh..."
"...the... green consultancy..."
"So you and the IT Director talk to some yoghurt-eating fruitcake in a hemp suit and sandals and the next thing we know you're planning to replace our high power server environment with a poor imitation of it?"
That is, now that it's official that last year was the coldest in a long time. Ron Bailey has the details:
It's getting cold outside. How cold? As Daily Tech reports:
Over the past year, anecdotal evidence for a cooling planet has exploded. China has its coldest winter in 100 years. Baghdad sees its first snow in all recorded history. North America has the most snowcover in 50 years, with places like Wisconsin the highest since record-keeping began. Record levels of Antarctic sea ice, record cold in Minnesota, Texas, Florida, Mexico, Australia, Iran, Greece, South Africa, Greenland, Argentina, Chile — the list goes on and on.
No more than anecdotal evidence, to be sure. But now, that evidence has been supplanted by hard scientific fact. All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.
I've been a "denier" on the Global Warming/Climate Change issue for quite some time: it's not that man's contributions to climate change don't exist, but I believe they are still miniscule compared to the natural phenomena which have always played their role in climate change. As I've been in the habit of saying over the course of this (bloody cold) winter: "Global warming? Sounds like a good idea to me!"
I strongly suspect, but don't have the formal data to back up my suspicion, that we're actually overdue for an ice age, not a warm period, geologically speaking.
Whether you're a Global Warming True Believer or an evil Climate Change Denier, you'll find lots of stuff to keep your blood pressure up at Climate Debate Daily, an aggregator of posts on both sides of the Climate Change holy war. It's run by New Zealand philosophy professor Denis Dutton (who also created the Arts & Letters Daily aggregator site).
For the record, I incline to the heretical side of that particular Jihad/Crusade/Inquisition.
Perry de Havilland finds that California is hoping to become even more intrusive into the lives of private individuals:
According to American Thinker, there is a move afoot to nationalise the ability of people to control the temperatures of their own homes (yes, really!) in, where else, the People's Republic of California:
What should be controversial in the proposed revisions to Title 24 is the requirement for what is called a "programmable communicating thermostat" or PCT. Every new home and every change to existing homes' central heating and air conditioning systems will required to be fitted with a PCT beginning next year following the issuance of the revision. Each PCT will be fitted with a "non-removable " FM receiver that will allow the power authorities to increase your air conditioning temperature setpoint or decrease your heater temperature setpoint to any value they chose. During "price events" those changes are limited to +/- four degrees F and you would be able to manually override the changes. During "emergency events" the new setpoints can be whatever the power authority desires and you would not be able to alter them.
In other words, the temperature of your home will no longer be yours to control. Your desires and needs can and will be overridden by the state of California through its public and private utility organizations. All this is for the common good, of course.
Just remember . . . once you've accepted that government has a role in setting energy prices, they've got a foothold into controlling energy usage, too. And in this proposal, they're creating an even greater incentive for folks to go "off the grid". Wait and see how they choose to address that leak, should enough people attempt to take advantage of it.
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