Tuesday, April 29, 2008

That SE Wisconsin emission testing change

A couple more things about the SE Wisconsin emission testing program. First, I ran into this in yesterday's article.

Yet state documents show that exempting older vehicles means reductions in auto emissions will be slowed until 2018.

But officials at Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources emphasized the effect will not hamper the state's efforts to control air emission while saving state tax dollars

For example, in 2009 pollutants are projected to be 18% to 21% lower than otherwise when older vehicles are not tested, documents show. By 2018, the difference will drop to 1% to 2%.

"The changes will not be consequential to overall air quality," said Kevin Kessler, director of the DNR's Bureau of Air Management.

Are they really saying that emissions are lower when the old cars are not tested? That makes no sense. Or does it mean that these cars are responsible for 18% to 21% to the area's pollution if untested? Or is it just poor writing?

The other thing that stands out is that the contract to do the testing is out for bids. How many Wisconsinites realize that these are not state employees testing their emissions?

About the Company
Envirotest Wisconsin Inc., a subsidiary of Environmental Systems Products, Inc. (ESP), operates the Wisconsin Vehicle Inspection Program under contract to the State of Wisconsin.

Now is the perfect time to eliminate the emission testing program. Simply let the current contract expire in June. No further action required.

The test facilities can then be sold and the money used to pay down the state's debt.

UPDATE: A relevant follow-up post is here.

The market responds

This is bad news for Wisconsin's economy, but a good sign for motor fuel consumers.
More than 750 workers at the General Motors sport utility vehicle factory in Janesville are expected to lose their jobs when the nation's largest carmaker eliminates one of its two shifts in July.

The cuts represent the most dramatic impact yet of record-high oil and gasoline prices on Wisconsin's economy.

The factory is one of four GM plants that will see jobs cut. The automaker says it has far too much production capacity compared with customer demand for large SUVs and pickup trucks.

"The market has dramatically softened in our large SUV and full-size pickup truck segments," GM spokesman Chris Lee said. "That's basically why we made the call."

This downturn in sales of gas guzzlers is evidence that the market is responding to $3+ gasoline prices. Reduced demand will follow, leading to lower, or at least slower growing, gas prices.

Breaking News: Packers Trade Favre

Ted Thompson couldn't do it fast enough, trading Brett to the Raiders for next year's 3rd, 4th and 6th round picks. His remarks:
Brett has given the Packers many years of exceptional service, but that is in the past. With our good luck in adding Brian Brohm and Matt Flynn this weekend, it is time for the team to move on. We had hoped to get more for Brett, but with luck I'll be able to trade down for several 7th round picks next year.
Details at Packer.com.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Fighting back against the Law of Unintended Consequences

    1. Reduction of nitrogen oxides to nitrogen and oxygen: 2NOx → xO2 + N2
    2. Oxidation of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide: 2CO + O2 → 2CO2
    3. Oxidation of unburnt hydrocarbons (HC) to carbon dioxide and water: 2CxHy + (2x+y/2)O2 → 2xCO2 + yH2O
Gov. Jim Doyle is not selling his decision to eliminate emissions testing on old cars the correct way. This isn't about saving the state some money or due to the difficulty in testing these beaters. He needs to say he is doing it to FIGHT GLOBAL WARMING.

The problem with modern "low emissions" vehicles is that they reduce greenhouse gas neutral emissions with the worst greenhouse gas known to Manbearpig and Nobel Laureate Al Gore: CARBON DIOXIDE! {Insert screaming sound effect here}

The reactions shown at the top of this post are what happen in your catalytic converter. Yet another example of bad things happening when liberal environmental activists act. We've cleaned up our local environment at the expense of the planet as a whole. Without modern vehicle emissions standards, the amount of carbon dioxide spewed into the environment since 1975 would be exponentially lower.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Catchy tune.

I'll never be able to say 'Obama' again without that pause.

H/T - Althouse

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Packers Draft Notes - Updated

A white wide receiver? Is Jordy Nelson another Bill Schroeder, but without the track star speed?

From 1993 to 2007, with Mr. Favre as their starting QB, the Packers picked a total of seven skill-position offensive players in the first two draft rounds. An average of less than one-half per year. In 2008, the first year in 15 without Favre around, they chose two skill-position offensive players in the first two rounds. Yeah Brett, we wanted you back.

Ryan Brohm, I mean Brian Braun, more proof that star players should never stick around for that senior year.


In 2008, three skill-position offensive players were picked in the Packers' first four selections, that's 75%. In the previous 15 seasons under Brett, just 15 skilled-offensive players in the first 4 picks, a mere 25%.

Smoke Day 2008 - 4 week warning

WSM Smoke Day IV - May 24. Food at 5:00. Music at 7:00.

Features for 2008:

More Food. My teammate from the White Men Can't Smoke BBQ Team will be cooking with me. My bill of fare includes beef brisket, pork butt & picnic, baby back ribs, spare ribs, smoked sausage, chicken, and turkey. I don't know what he is cooking.

New Jello Shot Varieties. Mrs. Headless is going to try to one-up her Mojito, Margarita, Pina Colada and Root Beer Float Jello shots.

Better Organization.
We promise not to forget to serve the black bean and corn salad this time.

More People. Word is out among more family, friends and neighbors (I'm even inviting my brother this year). The SE Wisconsin Roadfood.com Eating Team is coming.

Environmentally Conscious. Large volumes of ethanol (in the non-denatured form) will be consumed.

Famous Guest(s). One or more of the following will attend:

  1. Barack Obama - A campaign stop to roll up his sleeves with bitter small town gun and religion clingers.
  2. Prince Fielder - The perfect way to get over that vegetarian fad.
  3. Buddy Roadhouse - A stop for barbecue after a day of sampling his fabulous sauces at Sendik's Brookfield.
  4. Notable Wisconsin Bloggers. Will I recognize them when they sneak in?
Build Your Own Dessert. Mrs. Headless is giving this a try for 2008 with tarts and shortcakes.

Romance. Will we have guests meet and become engaged within 6 months again?

Live Music. My friend Tom is bringing his band over to entertain. IX Lives will be playing an unplugged set, which is still electric, but doesn't include their huge sound system. They'll feature more Zeppelin, Floyd and Petty. A special unannounced opening act, too.

RSVP. By email or in comments.

Friday, April 25, 2008

What I was drinking - Lucid Absinthe

A day late this time. I got a bottle of Absinthe for my birthday and JS-on-dead-tree runs a story about it today. The story features Milwaukee bars serving Absinthe the classic French way:
To serve absinthe, he pours two ounces of the liquor into a glass and positions it under a spigot. He places a slotted spoon on top of the glass and a sugar cube on top of the spoon, then he opens the spigot. Cold water eases over the sugar cube and into the glass, dissolving the cube and sweetening the licorice-tasting liquor and revealing the herb-based alcohol's pale green color.
Absinthe is strong stuff, something like 270 proof with an intense anise flavor, and that hallucinogenic wormwood, too. I am more disposed to have mine in the classic New Orleans cocktail, the Sazerac. Robert Hess at DrinkBoy has this description.
The evolution of the recipe for the Sazerac cocktail thus spanned perhaps 30 years or more before settling in on a combination of Rye, bitters, sugar, and Absinthe. This is still the basic recipe that you will find today, the main difference being that an Absinthe substitute is used in place of that now banned ingredient, and the bitters will vary from being straight Peychaud's, to a mixture of Peychaud's and Angostura, to being only Angostura. Bourbon has also replaced Rye as the base spirit in this drink, this reflects the increased popularity of Bourbon over Rye since the repeal of prohibition.

As a cocktail, I find the Sazerac to be a wonderfully contemplative drink. It's complex and interesting layers of different flavors lend itself to drinking in a quiet and dimly lit room, perhaps with the crackle and flicker of a burning fire on the hearth. Some establishments will make this like a normal cocktail, shaken with ice, and strained into a cocktail glass. Myself, I feel that this looses some of the interesting flavors and qualities of the drink. I make mine by taking a pre-chilled old fashioned glass, and using an atomizer squirt in 3 to 4 sprays of Pernod (or some other Absinthe substitute). Without an atomizer, you can simply pour into the glass a bar-spoon of Pernod and roll it around the glass to coat the sides, leaving a small puddle in the bottom of the glass. To this I add a splash of simple syrup, a dash of Peychaud's bitters, and then 2 ounces of Rye Whiskey. You can use a cube of sugar instead of the simple syrup, but I feel that the remaining grit of the sugar is a distraction that doesn't befit this drink. A simple twist of lemon peel is all that is needed for a garnish.

My recipe.
  • 1/2 teaspoon Lucid Absinthe
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 dashes Peychaud Bitters
  • 2 ounces of Whiskey
Swirl Absinthe around old fashioned glass. Add sugar and bitters, muddle well. Fill glass with crushed ice and top with whiskey. I may use brandy next time, as in the original 19th century recipe.

My bottle of Lucid will see many more birthdays if I stick with this recipe.

Packers #1 Pick

I am going on the record. The Packers will pick Louisville quarterback Brian Brohm with their 1st round draft pick in tomorrow's NFL Draft. I have no exceptional insight into the NFL draft, I am just convinced that I'll be asking myself "Did he say Brian Brohn or Ryan Braun?" for at least the next five years.

UPDATE: I'm right even when I am wrong. No first round pick, but the Packers chose Braun with their second 2nd rounder.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Boiling it down

M. Simon put a smile on my face with this one.
On one side, you have a bitch who is a lawyer, married to a lawyer, and a lawyer who is married to a bitch who is a lawyer.

On the other side, you have a true war hero married to a woman with huge breasts who owns a beer distributorship.

Is there a contest here?"

Bluemound Road Safety - The Obvious Solution

Another reason this state is in major debt. The thinking at the DOT seems to be, "Why spend $10,000, when we can throw $4,000,000 to the road-builders?"

There are traffic safety issues on Bluemound Road in Brookfield, the obvious answer to these bureaucrats is to foul up traffic with more and more concrete. This time in the form of disruptive median barriers.

The simpler, more effective, less disruptive, and less expensive solution is to reduce the speed limit on Bluemound and enforce it. This stretch of roadway is no longer a sleepy country road. A 45 mph speed limit is just too high for the current traffic conditions.

Drop it to a more appropriate 35 miles per hour and the road becomes more safe, not just from the lower traffic speed, but also by drivers using other roads and highways that will now be faster routes for these drivers. The cost for the new speed limit signs is a fraction of the pork being handed to the Governor's political contributors.

p.s. If you are aware of a short-cut to avoid congested traffic, do not go on the radio and blab about it. I'm talking to you, dumbass Belling caller.

(untitled post)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

TC Self-Check Time

A timely reminder at Blackfive, one day short of 4 years since I lost my left one.

Important information about testicular cancer and self-exams

Ok, this is an unusual post. But it's really important because we see quite a few cases of testicular cancer at Landstuhl due to the gender/age group of the patients.

Please help raise awareness about the importance of deployed men doing testicular self-exams.

There's very high awareness for breast cancer and the need for women to carry out self-exams.

However, there's much less awareness about testicular cancer (TC), which is the most common type of cancer affecting guys between the ages of 15 and 35.

Most often, TC is found by men themselves. The thing with being deployed is that you don't want to look like you're playing with yourself in the shower or whatever while checking yourself out. Also, back home, it's often found by wives/girlfriends.

But a monthly self-exam of the testicles is the best way of becoming familiar with your body and thus enabling detection of TC at an early - and highly curable - stage.

Information about self-exams. [http://tcrc.acor.org/tcexam.html]

General information about TC. [http://tcrc.acor.org/index.html]

Important to Know:
- TC has a VERY high cure rate.
- Treatment usually involves removal of the affected testicle and follow up.
- Having one testicle is almost always sufficient to keep everything "working".

Finally, embarrassment is a poor excuse for not having things checked out. If you think there is something wrong or something has changed, get your butt to sick call!

Headless Blogger says, "Check them out! Both of them."

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


The earliest Earth Day goals have been long met and surpassed. In all areas - air, water, land - pollution has been abated and our environment has become much closer to pristine.

Consider that today's biggest environmental threat is supposedly carbon dioxide. I am old enough to remember when carbon dioxide was a desirable byproduct to environmentalists. In fact, the desire to turn more noxious effluents into CO2 was the reason catalytic converters were invented and mandated decades ago.

Today, Steven Hayward presented his 2008 Index of Leading Environmental Indicators, which he prefaces in this column. Hayward notes in the column.

The irony in this year’s political stampede stems from the fact that intense focus on environmental concerns (especially the United States) over the past decade has caused a significant diminution of environmental problems. It’s hard to scare people any more. Air pollution is on its way to being eliminated entirely in the U.S. in about another 20 years. Levels of air pollution have fallen between 25 and 99 percent (depending on which pollutant you measure), with the nation’s worst areas showing the most progress. For example, Los Angeles has gone from having nearly 200 high ozone days in the 1970s to less than 25 days a year today. Many areas of the Los Angeles basin are now smog-free year round.

Water pollution is more stubborn and harder to measure (and is being made worse in the Mississippi River basin by the government’s crazy ethanol mandate), but here too there have been major improvements since the first Earth Day in 1970. The Great Lakes have been cleaned up, with many previously endangered species of birds now thriving. The Cuyahoga River in Cleveland doesn’t catch fire any more. The amount of toxic chemicals used in American industry has fallen by 61 percent over the last 20 years, even as industrial output has grown. Forestland in the U.S. has been expanding at a rate of nearly 1 million acres a year over the last generation.

Bjorn Lomborg's The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World also chronicles the improvements in our environment. Things are better, much better. We are just constantly having the bar raised and the line in the sand moved.

Thinking Globally + Acting Locally = Bad for the Earth

Think Globally, Act Locally, which may be better known as Not in my Backyard, has been a disaster for the environment. For example, buying "green" biofuels can mean cleaner air near your home, but is causing the destruction of the Earth's rainforests and elimination of many rare and unique species.

More broadly, the extremes that the environmental movement has imposed on the U.S. and other developed nations has been a net negative for the planet. They have been successful in their attempts to mandate near zero emissions here, by causing many industries to move elsewhere. These businesses have relocated to places where there is little or no regulation. Pollution can be spewed to the air and water in these far away places in a manner that is beyond comprehension in the U.S., even before the first Earth Day.
Out of sight, out of mind may better describe this philosophy.

For the sake of the planet, reasonable environmental standards must be established in the United States, and then remain unchanged. We were there years ago. It is time to roll things back to be within reason.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Take the 'KRM' Train

Watch Duke at the end. Real stage presence.

The trumpet solo was by Ray Nance. The ear scratching by the sax player is still a sight to behold, even 50 years later.

For info on Milwaukee's previous KRM train, click this link.

A challenge to the Ice Age Deniers

14 April 2008

Dear Dr. Pachauri and others associated with IPCC

We are writing to you and others associated with the IPCC position – that man’s CO2 is a driver of global warming and climate change – to ask that you now in view of the evidence retract support from the current IPCC position [as in footnote 1] and admit that there is no observational evidence in measured data going back 22,000 years or even millions of years that CO2 levels (whether from man or nature) have driven or are driving world temperatures or climate change.

If you believe there is evidence of the CO2 driver theory in the available data please present a graph of it.
Read it all here. This was the first I had heard of this letter.

H/T - Power and Control

Too hot for the Wisconsin Sports Bar

Not racist, but a whole lot of racial stereotyping. Typical 1970's stuff. When did everyone get such thin skin?

The whitneygouldification of America continues

A proposed ordinance amendment regulating lawn ornaments will wait for resident input.

The Legislative Committee voted to table discussion on the amendment, which would limit the height of artwork, light posts and lawn ornaments to 30 percent of the house height - measured from the street yard to the peak - with a footprint no greater than 50 square feet.
The rest of the story.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Please Prince, get back on the steeroids - Updated

0 for April. Bonds can't do it without the drugs. Face it, you can't do it without the meat.

t will not lessen your accomplishments or make anyone think less of you if you test positive for steeroids.

Please eat red meat. I'll even do the cooking.

Update: I'm taking full credit for Fielder's change in mojo. Within hours of my post, he blasts his first home run of 2008.

Smoke Day 2008

I'm hoping the snow melts by May 24.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Before the bitter white people speech

Zombietime.com had this great photo essay up before the text of Obama's speech became public. Very funny stuff.

Their later detailed post of pictures from the event is here. See if you can pick me out in the pictures.

More Big Eth

Dad29 reminded me in the comments over here that all my crazy ethanol-to-food cyphering is not that far out of line. I ran into this column recently, which quotes Cornell University scientist David Pimental, a vocal critic of corn-based ethanol use.

Still, Americans are seduced by the idea that there is some "alternative fuel" that will permit them to keep driving giant gas guzzlers while also cutting oil imports. I told Pimental about watching a 110-pound woman emerge from a four-ton SUV that pulled up next to me in a parking lot. He did some quick calculations in his head.

"The tank on that car would hold 30 gallons," he said. "It takes 22 pounds of corn to make one gallon of ethanol, so that's 660 pounds of corn to fill that tank just once."

That's 660 pounds of corn that won't make it into the food chain. Yet Congress grants exemptions to the fuel-economy rules for gas guzzlers set up to run on E-85, a fuel that is 85 percent ethanol. Since ethanol has less energy than gasoline per gallon, the fuel economy on these monsters can drop as low as 8 mpg. If you think we can end our dependence on foreign oil with vehicles that get 8 mpg, then you belong in a mental institution -- or in Congress

Dr. Pimental has published some very controversial research, showing that using ethanol causes more petroleum to be imported, not less, due to the inefficiency of the corn-to-fuel process. I have steered away from Pimental's results, using Big Ethanol's published data instead. I still have found corn-based ethanol to be agriculturally unsustainable and an incredible waste of food for very little benefit.

Little POS cars - Updated

Am I the only one to notice an increase in the number of small cars being driven? My Ultimate Korean Driving Machine is no longer the smallest vehicle on the road.

I think the free market is beginning to respond to $3.50 a gallon gas.

Update: This must be an illusion. The SAE knows that Americans do not care about fuel economy.

Black & White

Can we stop ignoring the obvious now?

That someone who associates with a racist for 20 years and who responds to criticism with racial stereotypes is he himself a racist.

H/T to James T. for putting this in the perspective of a person from the inner city.

H/T-II to Tom McMahon for inspiring me to see everything in terms of blocks and fours.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Under Pressure

This one seems appropriate for me tonight, and not because I've adopted a different lifestyle. Skip to around 2 minutes for the main event.

This explains it

Obama thinks these are typical small town Americans.

Hey Barack, Jackie Broyles and Dunlap are characters played by actors. This is parody. Now make a speech and tell America that these guys fooled you. Then all will be forgiven.

Everyone else, click here to buy Jackie and Dunlap gear.

Friday, April 11, 2008

More than a little projection here

And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.
Just another Sunday at the Trinity United Church of Wright.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Real life food-to-fuel ethanol use

My previous look at ethanol use for a big SUV tank approached the impossibly unrealistic - 560 pounds of corn to reduce the amount of gasoline filling the tank of an SUV by 1.6 gallons. Not very many people drive really huge SUVs, and NOBODY uses E85, especially SUV owners.

Here I take a look at fueling vehicles that are more common and fueled by something much more commonly used than E85.


Consider a full-size sedan, minivan or mid-size SUV using E10 fuel. In this case, 15 gallon can be a typical tank fill. Of the 15 gallons of E10 motor fuel, 10 percent, or 1.5 gallons, is ethanol.

Using the updated corn to ethanol conversion from the
2007 Ethanol Fact Book, it takes six-tenths of a bushel to produce that 1.5 gallon of ethanol (1.5 gallon divided by 2.5 gal. per bushel of corn). The 6/10 bushel is 33.6 pounds of corn.

So the simple answer is over 30 pounds of corn are taken off the plate of the proverbial Starving Child in Africa, every time you fill your Camry or Explorer.


Looking deeper into ethanol use, the picture gets worse, in fact, much worse. Due to the energy density of ethanol (.66 the energy of gasoline by volume), 50.9 pounds (
33.6 divided by .66) of corn are needed to replace the 1.5 gallons of gasoline displaced by ethanol.

Looking at production efficiencies, the 2007 Ethanol Fact Book now claims that the energy yield from ethanol production is 34% (a huge jump from the 2005 Fact Book, where they admitted only a 6% energy gain). Dividing 1.5 gallon by 1.34, we find that using 15 gallons of E10, only reduces gasoline imports by 1.1 gallons in that tank.

Therefore, the net benefit of using E10 motor fuel is a reduction of 1.1 gallons of gasoline for 50.9 pounds of corn used to make the ethanol. Multiply this by the millions of vehicle fill-ups each day in the U.S., and it is easy to see why food prices are skyrocketing, while oil imports are just barely creeping downward.


Planet Gore gets it. Great posts on
Amazon deforestation and the food fallout from ethanol production.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Odd blog

A good example of how global warming speculation quickly becomes accepted fact. This post showed up briefly today at NEI Nuclear Notes, then disappeared. I copied it from my RSS feed reader.

"They Eat People"

No, not zombies, which as far as we can tell, are not affected by changes in climate, but polar bears. The plight - or not - of the polar bear due to global warming - or not - has tied a "not" around government; it cannot effectively move one way or another because many potent forces have gained enough authority to assert their authority to say they are right - or not - about issues that have far reaching implications - or not.

In 2006, scientists for the United States Geological Survey and the Canadian Wildlife Service, published a document through the USGS called Polar Bear Population Status in the Southern Beaufort Sea. In it, the authors found a marked decrease in the polar bear population in that area. One of its authors, Eric Regehr, went further:

Eric Regehr, a UW Ph.D. candidate in zoology and physiology and United States Geological Survey (USGS) employee, has spent the last two years analyzing polar bear data collected by the Canadian Wildlife Service in Canada's western Hudson Bay.

"These data provide evidence for a direct linkage between reduced sea ice coverage, presumably caused by climate change, and decreased polar bear survival in western Hudson Bay," Regehr says in the current edition of UWyo magazine.

That "presumably" is important, as issues of climate change are likely outside Regehr's domain. Regardless, the Bush administration has hesitated in adding polar bears to the the endangered species list and has hesitated further in explaining why to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee:

The deadline for a decision on listing Alaska's polar bears as threatened under the Endangered Species Act was Jan. 9. Conservation groups petitioned to list polar bears as threatened more than three years ago because their habitat, sea ice, is shrinking from global warming, many scientists say.

Boxer said [Interior Secretery Dirk] Kempthorne and other administration officials were "ducking their responsibility to the American people" by delaying a decision on the bears — and then failing to appear at a hearing to explain why.

Note that Regehr's "presumably" is now taken as a given, supported by unnamed "many scientists." Guessing why Kempthorne did not appear might make a fun game but would be pure supposition - someone from Interior will weigh in sooner or later - but it provides an opening for other interested parties to have a say.

Senator John Barasso from Wyoming wrote this for The Hill's congressional blog:

Attempts to list the polar bear as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) during an Environment and Public Works Committee hearing is a hijacking of the Endangered Species Act for political purposes. It is not just about the polar bear.

Some claim that global warming is leading to the demise of polar bears. If the polar bear is listed as threatened, anything thought to contribute to global warming could be shut down — even in Wyoming.

We are all concerned about protecting the environment. If the polar bear is listed, the ESA will become a climate change law.

There's more but the central point seems to be that whether the polar bear is threatened or not, declaring it threatened will have unintended consequences: no longer will there be backyard barbeques because a polar bear cub is slipping off an ice ledge.

It's a fairly grotesque warping of the Endangered Species Act, since it is hard to imagine a court using polar bear protection to shut down carbon emitting entities; the economic consequences would be too severe.

Additionally, the EPA has not committed itself to allowing severe economic consequences to follow from efforts to contain emissions - see its refusal to grant California a waiver to allow the state to regulate auto emissions more stringently than the federal government for an example.

EPA may or may not become more activist one way or another - the upcoming elections will doubtless influence its future direction. But for now, Barasso seems stuck - able to accept that the polar bear fits the criteria of an endangered species, unable to act on it due to its implications for the nation's industries and economic well-being.

But all this could be put aside if one paid attention to CNN commentator Glenn Beck, who, talking with (or, on the evidence, at) Senator James Inhofe, said:

They eat people! For the love of Pete, they’re big, angry bears. They eat people. Not that I say we go out and kill all of them, but I mean, it doesn’t seem to be a problem here. Senator, I can’t take the — I can’t take the lies anymore.

So there it is. Interior should leave off the endangered species list any animal that eats people.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ready for SNOPES: Does ethanol starve the poor?

Claim: The grain it takes to fill an SUV tank with ethanol could feed a person for a year. Harvests are being plucked to fuel our cars instead of ourselves.

Status: True

Source: TIME article The Clean Energy Scam

Evaluation: It was previously shown for a large SUV:

Fuel tank capacity: 31 to 39 gallons for a 2008 Suburban

Ethanol yield from corn: 2.8 gallons per bushel - found it here, originally sourced from Ethanol.com

Ethanol needed to fill the tank: Let's say 28 gallons* blended with 5 gallons of gasoline to make 33 gallons of E85 for the Flex-Fueled SUV.

Hence, 10 bushels of corn are needed to fill the tank of the Suburban with E85.

A bushel of shelled corn weighs 56 pounds (ear corn is 70 pounds per bushel, but I'm pretty sure that shelled corn is used in the process).

Hence, 560 pounds of corn are needed to fill the Suburban just one time.

Go here for analysis of a car or mid-size SUV.

A more detailed analysis than you need is below

But, I'm not done yet.

The Ethanol industry freely admits that the net yield of ethanol production is a mere 6% increase over the fuel used in the process. Knowing that, we find it takes 26.4 gallons of gasoline AND 560 pounds of corn to produce 28 gallons of ethanol.

In terms of cost - benefit, this comes down to it requiring 560 pounds of corn (The Cost) to reduce the amount of gasoline filling the tank of that SUV by 1.6 gallons (The Benefit). So, taking this inefficiency to account, we are essentially starving 17.5 people when we fill-up that SUV one time.

More fun facts from Big Eth

The Big Ethanol Lobby website (ethanol.org) says the following in their 2007 Ethanol Fact Book
Ethanol production yields many valuable human and animal feed co-products. A bushel of corn used in the fuel ethanol process produces 1.6 pounds of corn oil, 10.9 pounds of high protein feed (distillers dried grains, or DDG), 2.6 pounds of corn meal, and 31.5 pounds of starch that can be converted to beverages or sweeteners, or used to produce 2.5 gallons of ethanol.
First, I notice that Big Eth has revised downward its estimate of ethanol per bushel, from 2.8 to 2.5 gallons.

Next, I can't exactly follow the sentence structure, this statement could mean that we give up 31.5 pounds of starch (The Cost) for 2.5 gallons of ethanol (The Benefit); or it could mean, that it costs 1.6 pounds of corn oil, 10.9 pounds of high protein feed, 2.6 pounds of corn meal, and 31.5 pounds of starch for the benefit of 2.5 gallons of ethanol. I'll let someone who actually passed freshman english to answer that one for me.

*Parenthetically: Those 28 gallons of ethanol in the E85 contain 1/3 less energy than the gasoline it replaces. Therefore, 42 gallons of ethanol must be produced to provide the same power as a full tank of gas. That equates to 840 pounds of corn, or enough to feed a person for a year and one half. But I won't go into that, things are bad enough without the distraction.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Ethanol - worse than I ever imagined

My regular reader knows that I am on a quest to understand the production and economics of ethanol (examples of my analyses are here, here, and here). While reading The Biofuel Scam at the Power and Control blog today, this statement jumped out at me.
The grain it takes to fill an SUV tank with ethanol could feed a person for a year. Harvests are being plucked to fuel our cars instead of ourselves. What a brilliant idea.
That statement wasn't from the blogger. It was from a TIME article the blogger was critiquing. Could that really be true? Lets find out.

Fuel tank capacity of big SUV: 31 to 39 gallons for a 2008 Suburban

Ethanol yield from corn: 2.8 gallons per bushel - found it here, originally sourced from Ethanol.com

Ethanol needed to fill the tank: Let's say 28 gallons blended with 5 gallons of gasoline to make 33 gallons of E85 for the Flex-Fueled SUV.

Hence, 10 bushels of corn are needed to fill the tank of the Suburban with E85.

A bushel of shelled corn weighs 56 pounds (ear corn is 70 pounds per bushel. Not knowing which form is used for ethanol, I'll use the most favorable value).

Hence, 560 pounds of corn are needed to fill the Suburban one time.

That is simply obscene.

I have more to say on this - IT GETS WORSE - my updates are here and here.

H/T - Just One Minute

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Good paying jobs available

This is from a report at NEI Nuclear Notes on opportunities in the nuclear world.
Today the average age of the nation's nuclear workers is about 50. Many will be eligible to start retirement at 55. Within five years, about 35 percent of the specialists who have been running U.S. nuclear plants for the past quarter-century -- about 19,600 people -- are expected to begin a mass retirement.

With the explosion in job opportunity, nuclear professionals are mobile again after years of stagnating in a low-turnover industry.
I am seeing this first hand at the Kewaunee plant's refueling outage. Of the 400 laborers brought onsite for the outage, 80% are first time nuclear workers. These workers get 72 hour work weeks, with many away from their homes for up to 2 months. Somehow the premium dollars make it worthwhile. Bring your union card, they will find work for you.

Capitalism is a wonderful thing.

Illegal immigrants need not apply.

More blood on Jim Doyle's hands

Serial killer in Madison?

Death of UW student called homicide

Police find her body in home off campus

Madison police are investigating the homicide of a 21-year-old University of Wisconsin-Madison student found dead Wednesday afternoon in her off-campus apartment.

Officers responding to a call to check on a resident in a duplex in the 500 block of W. Doty St. just after 1 p.m. found the body of Brittany Sue Zimmermann, said Joel DeSpain, a Police Department spokesman.

Zimmermann, a junior from Marshfield who was majoring in medical microbiology and immunology, lived at the rental unit and attended classes at UW, according to an e-mail from the university.

The cause of death has not been determined, but the Dane County coroner classified the death as a homicide, DeSpain said.

An autopsy was scheduled for today.

Police did not have a suspect in custody late Wednesday, DeSpain said.

There was no evidence Zimmermann was targeted, but police had not determined whether the killing was random, DeSpain said.

My 21-year-old University of Wisconsin-Madison student daughter has a 9mm surprise waiting for this bastard if he comes to her off-campus apartment. She will be carrying it when she is out at night, too.

Thanks to the other bastard, Governor Jim Doyle, it is a crime for her to protect her life.

Nota Bene: My wife had just hung up from speaking to my daughter when I first read the tragic news of this girl's death. If I had read about it before the call, both my wife and I would have panicked. Instead, we immediately phoned her and told her to load her pistol. She was instructed to shoot anyone who tried to break into her apartment.


Before the Chocolate Jesus, there was the Black Moses.

I love that wah-wah guitar.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The day that football died

She sounds T'rivers to me, but her bio says she's a Yooper.

Groundhog Day

For my first week of 12 hour workdays, I dreaded the 04:25 squawking of my alarm clock. It is just insanely early, and I could barely get focused all day. I began to feel like Bill Murray in the movie. There was just no way to avoid that damn alarm clock. Not only that, but every day seems the same, with all the time at work, there's not much else that I can get done.

Finally this Monday, I woke up bright and chipper, and ready to take on the day. I started doing what Murray did in the movie, I quit fighting it and tried to make everything as good as it could be in these circumstances.

First, in order to get enough sleep, I have a maximum of 3 hours of personal time between getting home and going to bed. So I have to make choices on what I do with that time. I'm trying to exercise when I can, and I cook my meals instead of getting fast food. I am abstaining from alcohol on work nights, the last thing I need is to wake up with my head pounding. Finally, I'm enjoying the challenges of work and trying to make a difference. I am even anxious to get to work to find out what happened on night shift.

But I'm still hoping to wake up and have it be tomorrow.

So sad to see you go

Way too many phony April Fools "I'm leaving" announcements.

See ya.

The world isn't gonna end for the rest of us.

Don't let the door hit ya.

That was so last year.