Still on Vacation

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I shot this one with my Mamiya C330, my first medium format camera. This is a road just outside of Santa Fe NM.

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On Vacation

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Sorry for the drop off in posts. I am taking some time off and will be unplugged for the next week and a half.

Cellulosic Ethanol or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the E85 Blend

Cellulosic Ethanol,

My previous posts on E85, here and here

Where do we start? Lets start with what we have now. My concern with the current E85 blend is that it creates more pollution, is less efficient and will increase the price of common commodities than fossil fuels. Ethanol is being sold by corporations and politicians that are draping themselves in a green cloak. This is my opinion, my bias.

So what would be a better solution? Signs are pointing to cellulosic ethanol. What is it you say? Here is the Department of Energy’s explanation [Link]

Cellulosic ethanol can be made from other forms of plants, mulching, grass clippings, corn stalks and other non fruit bearing parts of plants. Why are we not using it now? The yeild for the process is not worth the effort. So why am I bringing this up? Well the process could be improved with the inclusion of GM plants. That’s Geneticly Modified plants.

Ethically what are the implications of using GM plants to supplement our demand for fuel? I may be premature by raising this subject or behind the curve in regards to the GM conundrum, I don’t know. We are already using GM foods all over the world and the cat is out of the bag. Questions about cross pollination and whether or not we should play god is a topic I am not fully versed in. However I do think this topic needs to be discussed in the open. E85 was never given much scrutiny before it was pushed on us by Washington.

So which lines do we cross and which ones do we hold sacred? Is the jury still out on GM foods? 50 years from now what would the implications be? 100 years?

Should we allow more off-shore drilling?

Congress thinks of allowing more oil-prospecting off America’s coasts.

The Economist has a story about the possible effects. [Link]

I thought the following was an interesting bit of info…

Lobbyists for the industry retort that there has been no big leak from an offshore well since 1969. (Tankers, such as the Exxon Valdez, are another story.) They point to a study by the National Academy of Sciences that attributed 62% of the oil found in seawater to natural seepage, 32% to leaks from shipping and run-off from land, 4% to spills from oil tankers and around 1% to faulty offshore rigs and pipelines. Even during last year’s hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico, the big spills were from storage tanks onshore, not offshore facilities.

1% of all oil seepage is from offshore drilling and pipelines. Does this make it easier to convince people to allow off-shore drilling?

Sunday Open Blogathy

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Open Thread….

It’s Sunday morning and I am shaking my Head

Background

I just watched Meet the Press and I couldn’t keep from gagging the entire time Bill Richardson was talking. He was claiming that the Clinton administration was successful dealing with North Korea. SUCCESSFUL! What? He went one to say that the deal that they had, which was later broken buy the North Koreans, was a success. He went one to claim that another example of the diplomatic prowess of the Clinton administration was that they almost had a missile deal with NK. What? What? What? He went on to say we should drop multilateral talks and focus on bilateral talks with NK. WHAT!? So how would this help us? How would kicking our allies and local interested parties out of the talks with NK make the situation better?

I am no fan of how Bush is handling Iraq. He isn’t being very consistent with this issue either. He said early in his first term that a nuclear NK will not be tolerated now he is saying this is a complex issue and will take time to resolve. I do not claim to know how to fix the problem with NK or Iran. We can look at previous failures, the Clinton diplomacy with NK, and deduce what hasn’t worked in the past. I sure hope Bill Richardson doesn’t run for President.

Ethanol and why it’s wrong

via AutoblogGreen [LINK]

Biologist David E. Pitts wants farmers, fuel producers, and the government to stop the development of ethanol or at least stop devoting so many resources to the alternative fuel. Why?

-More oil and diesel will be consumed to farm corn fields set aside for ethanol. He calculates it takes seven times more land to produce one year’s worth of ethanol than to feed an average American. The result is more pollution, not less, with ethanol.

-Corn is an inefficient source of simple sugars used in the production of ethanol. Scientists have to develop more costly methods to convert corn when sugar cane is a more effective and simpler source of ethanol.

-He calculates it’ll take five times the amount of land currently set aside for crops in the U.S. to grow enough corn to fuel the current number of cars in the U.S. alone.


-He questions the ethical issue of diverting foodstuff to fuel vehicles when there are more than two billion starving people in the world.