A Little Holiday Environmental Misogyny

May 26, 2008

Headline: Chicks Can’t Drive

Subhed: Also, Chicks Are Crazy.  Maybe It’s Their Time Of The Month?

In all seriousness…I did click over to the Indy for a brief period yesterday, and I was severely disappointed to see that they’re doing a great deal of work and pub declaring that they’ve switched to using ethanol-based fuels to run the Indy 500.

This is, of course, a highly questionable decision, when you consider the fact that the environmental benefits of ethanol are questionable, at best, while it is completely accepted that increased use and production of food-based ethanol drives up food prices, increasing starvation in Third World countries.

I don’t know why I should be disappointed, really.  Should I expect an event which is dedicated to the proposition of driving a car as fast as humanly possible to be environmentally conscious?  Should I, instead, be happy that such an event is even trying to put a minor sheen of environmental consciousness on themselves?  The problem I have, which is really the problem I have with ethanol altogether, is that it really is not a way of improving our environmental footprint.  At best, it seems to be a way of decreasing our dependence on Middle Eastern oil, while doing the same harm environmentally.  Only, driving a flex fuel vehicle makes people feel like they are doing something for the environment, which might well reduce their urge to take other, more concrete steps to conserve energy.

So, on balance, I consider this fact to be yet another reason to detest and belittle the fact that we consider the act of driving a car 500 miles in a circle to be a sport.

It’s still better than hockey, of course, but that’s really not setting the bar very high…

Better Bio Fuel (OR Looking past corn)

May 25, 2008

I guess tonight is “good news for the environment” night…

This story (also via The Agonist) at Kos is somewhat heartening…  specifically, for me, in my quest to find a true electric car:

Target Launch of the cityZENN, powered by EEStor: Fall 2009

The cityZENN is planned to be a fully certified, highway capable vehicle with a top speed of 125 KPH/ 80 MPH and a range or 400 kilometres/250 miles. Powered by EEStor, the cityZENN will be rechargeable in less than 5 minutes, feature operating costs 1/10th of a typical internal combustion engine vehicle and be 100% emission-free! The Zero-Emission, No-Noise cityZENN will be designed to meet the transportation requirements of a large percentage of drivers worldwide.

Eating Plastic (OR Cool Science Stuff)

May 25, 2008

Via The Agonist, it appears that someone has discovered a microbe that loves to eat plastic.

Oh yeah…  this discovery was made by 16-year old.

Kinda makes you wonder what we could learn if we invested money in professional research along these lines instead of how to give middle aged men erections.

Missing the point (OR Is all carbon created equal?)

May 22, 2008

C. points me (via a NY Times blog) to an article with some unusual ideas about combating global warming. Certainly, it’s good to think outside the box, and consider perspectives on climate change that are outside the mainstream. But you still need to understand the basic premise.

Climate change is a man-made phenomenon because we’re taking carbon out from underground, burning it, and releasing the resulting CO2 into the atmosphere. A small sliver of the elevated emissions may be a result of increase in CO2 emitting animals and a decrease in CO2 absorbing plants, but it pales in comparison to burning once-buried carbon.

That little piece of information more or less invalidates this claim:

Dairy cows raised on organic feed aren’t pumped full of hormones. That means they produce less milk per Holstein — about 8 percent less than conventionally raised cattle. So it takes 25 organic cows to make as much milk as 23 industrial ones. More cows, more cow emissions. But that’s just the beginning. A single organically raised cow puts out 16 percent more greenhouse gases than its counterpart. That double whammy — more cows and more emissions per cow — makes organic dairies a cog in the global warming machine.

Sure, there are increased carbon emissions to support the cows but that’s because we burn carbon for energy. There were cows before there was global warming and they managed to go about their business in an entirely organic manner without impacting the climate. Even with more cows, the increased emissions almost certainly pail in comparison to those resulting from carbon-based energy addiction.