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Monday, March 28, 2011

Nuclear Reactor May Kill 192,000 Annually!

Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Oh, wait a minute. I got that wrong. I meant ethanol reactor, not nuclear reactor.

From a paper published in the spring 2011 issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons--the official journal of the AAPS (Association of American Physicians and Surgeons):

Research by the World Bank indicates that the increase in biofuels production over 2004 levels would push more than 35 million additional people into absolute poverty in 2010 in developing countries. Using statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Indur Goklany estimates that this would lead to at least 192,000 excess deaths per year, plus disease resulting in the loss of 6.7 million disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) per year.


While tens-of-thousands of grossly inaccurate and wildly sensationalist headlines about a single nuclear power plant that caused not a single radiation related fatality after being hit with a 36 foot high wall of water and magnitude 9 quake circled the globe ...200,000 poor people quietly die from malnutrition--annually.

How do you prevent a profit driven media from competing for readership with an ever-escalating arms race of sensationalist headlines? The damage done by the lay press probably matches that of the quake.

Journalists like George Monbiot with the courage to stare down reality, along with the Internet and comment fields, may save us yet:

The unpalatable truth is that the anti-nuclear lobby has misled us all

Why Fukushima made me stop worrying and love nuclear power

The double standards of green anti-nuclear opponents

And this from IstockAnalyst:

"We have to be aware that as long as the government is mandating using these food sources for fuel, despite the fact that there is still grain that comes out as a by-product, that is going to be a large demand that's not going away," Noonan says.

Meanwhile, global grain supply fell about 2.5% short of demand this year, says George Lee, the manager of the CF Eclectica Agriculture fund. As a result, with demand growing at about 2.5% a year, the harvest needs to grow by 5% next year, which he says is a big number compared with historical data. "

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Achtung! German Motorists Boycott Ethanol

The German government’s plan to follow our lead and force a ten percent blend of ethanol down its citizen’s throats has hit a snag. Unlike here in the States, German consumers can choose to buy gasoline without ethanol in it. So, that’s what they’re doing even though it costs more!

I took the above photo with my cell phone while filling up our Prius. Your elected politicians are forcing you to fuel your car with food. Why aren’t you morally outraged?

Refiners and gas stations are sitting on full tanks of unsold Super E10. On the other hand, there already are shortages of the more expensive, but also more energy-laden Super Plus.

The article that follows is taken from one I wrote in 2009 when food prices were spiking. Here we are two years later and they are spiking again.

The above cartoon was created last summer (2008) by Michael Ramirez. And he wasn’t the only cartoonist covering the topic. There were food riots in over thirty countries that summer. Big Biofuel tells us their product had nothing to do with it, but think about it. Although the corn ethanol lobby would happily do so if they could get away with it, no sane politician would back a plan to turn all of America’s corn and soybean crops into biofuels. Doing so would starve millions of impoverished children around the world and wreak havoc on our food system. If turning all of it into biofuels would wreak havoc, turning a quarter of it into biofuels (which we just did last year) wreaks one quarter of that havoc.

Attempts to get consumers to use corn ethanol as a fuel have a long history in our country. It has been marketed under the names Alcoline, Agrol, Gasohol, and finally, E-85. Gasohol, which is a 10 percent blend of ethanol, was sold in the eighties. You got to decide if you wanted it or not and most people decided they didn’t as the above picture attests. The ag and biofuel lobbyists got together with our politicians and found a way to fix that. They simply blend it into our gas without our permission and charge us an extra dollar a tank to subsidize the biofuel industry that is forcing this crappy fuel down our throats. I say crappy because, in so many words, that is what Consumer Reports concluded it was when they tested it.

These fuels cannot make a dent in our fuel imports. Only high mileage cars and mass transit can do that. It took an area equal to all of the cropland in Indiana (almost a quarter of our corn crop) to replace a mere 4% of our fuel supply last year.

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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why Car Drivers with a Clue Support Bicycle Infrastructure

Photo courtesy of therozblog via Flickr

Imagine what it would feel like to accidentally maim, cripple for life, or kill a bicyclist (daughter, wife, mom, son, husband, dad, teenager or kid) with your car, regardless of who got the traffic ticket.

On top of that guilt, imagine the potential for an emotionally and financially devastating lawsuit.

Oh, and don't forget the deductible on your car insurance.

I've had to brake hard to avoid hitting a cyclist, day, night, rain, or shine, many times in my life. As a cyclist, I've been on the receiving end more times than I can count as well.

A bicyclist can be difficult to parse out against a cluttered background and can be moving five times faster than a pedestrian. It's just physics.

Any motorist hoping that bicycling will be made illegal has a screw loose. This is a case where it would be much better to join them rather than fight them. Motorists should be the most enthusiastic supporters of any infrastructure that gets bicyclists out of their hair.

And did I mention all of the parking that bicyclists free up?

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