Friday, February 29, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Ethanol producers are today’s alchemists. They take gasoline, convert it to an inferior product, then sell that product for more than the cost of the gasoline.
Chuck Angier, the author of The Futility of Ethanol essay, checked in with some comments on my previous post. If you haven’t already, take a moment to read his comments. I appreciate Chuck’s attention and his feedback on my thoughts.
Like Chuck, I was also troubled by the 6% return in ethanol production, but I got there from a different direction. A 1.06 energy ratio means that you need to use 16.7 gallons of ethanol to produce 17.7 gallons of the product, a net gain of one gallon of ethanol. This can be justified from an energy perspective, but it doesn’t make any sense from a business standpoint. There is too much risk and too large of an investment for that small return.
Likewise, you would have to grow 16.7 acres of corn, for a net gain of ethanol equal to the yield from only one acre. That is geographically unsustainable, even for today’s ethanol production levels of less than 5% of U.S. gasoline consumption.
For these reasons I was convinced that the 1.06 energy ratio was wrong. The answer finally came to me, the energy ratio was correct, but I assumed the wrong fuel in my analysis of ethanol production.
The ethanol producers are smart enough to avoid using ethanol in their processes. They use good ol’ gas, natural gas and petroleum based fertilizers. This improves both the sustainability and economics of producing ethanol.
Sustainability. Use of gasoline reduces the inputs needed to produce one gallon of ethanol from 16.7 gallons of ethanol to 11.0 gallons of gasoline. This is due to the higher energy content of gasoline (i.e., ethanol’s 1.52 GGE).
This also makes the agriculture of ethanol more sustainable because the 16.7 to 1 acreage use is avoided. They just pump the required raw materials from the ground, instead of growing them. But that’s another blog.
Economics. Wholesale pricing for motor fuels is inverted. Ethanol at times costs more than gasoline on a volume basis despite its inferior energy density. This is really astounding considering ethanol has only 66% the energy of an equal volume of gasoline. So when converting corn to ethanol, producers choose gas. It can be cheaper and provides more energy per volume.Isn’t that ironic? For ethanol production to be economically viable and agriculturally sustainable, it is dependent on fossil fuels. Ethanol producers will not and cannot use their own product in production.
Assuming equal pricing by volume, the math works out like this
$1.00 gas x 1.52 GGE x 1.06 energy ratio = $1.61 ethanol to sell
Throw in government subsidies and excise tax avoidance and there is no longer any mystery as to why people are lining up to build ethanol facilities.
I will re-look at some of the number crunching performed in Chuck’s essay based on the above assumptions in a later follow-up post.
Note: If my logic or math is hosed up in this analysis don't be shy about correcting me.
Whose campaign was most likely to have this picture in its files?
Who took the moral high ground immediately upon the image's release?
Which candidate has not denied releasing the picture?
Who gained the most from the release of this photograph?
Which campaign is more likely to have released the picture?
Answer to all of the above: Barack Obama.
The knee-jerk conventional wisdom is often wrong.
Monday, February 25, 2008
The Hot Air/Malkin interface is not blog-like and is a pain in the ass to navigate. It is a bunch of linked columns, not a continuous blog. Think NRO versus The Corner, that's the difference.
Hot Air is all about clicking links. I'm not. I'm looking for content in an easy to read format. I first posted my gripe when Malkin changed format.
The Hot Air/Malkin RSS feed is also shit.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
The energy efficiency ratio of Ethanol is 1.06 without byproduct credits and 1.67 with byproduct credits. (Ethanol.org). In other words, ethanol generates 6% more energy than is required for production. If you were to allocate 34% of the required energy to the production of the byproduct, then it produces 67% more energy than it consumes.It took a while to comprehend this statement, because it is physically impossible. The energy efficiency ratio is defined as a value between 0 and 1.
In physics and engineering, including mechanical and electrical engineering, energy efficiency is a dimensionless number, with a value between 0 and 1 or, when multiplied by 100, is given as a percentage. The energy efficiency of a process, denoted by eta, is defined asIn mechanical engineering terminology, the ethanol proponents are making a claim that violates the First Law of Thermodynamics.
where output is the amount of mechanical work (in watts) or energy released by the process (in joules), and input is the quantity of work or energy used as input to run the process. Due to the principle of conservation of energy, energy efficiency within a closed system can never exceed 100%.
The change in the internal energy of a closed thermodynamic system is equal to the sum of the amount of heat energy supplied to the system and the work done on the system.I think what these alchemists really mean is that for every one human supplied energy unit used in producing ethanol, 1.06 energy units of ethanol are produced. Fair enough and with a scientifically researched basis. But this calculus ignores the huge amount of solar energy converted to potential energy as the corn grows.
- The misstatement of energy efficiency is made by the ethanol hucksters to put their product in an impossibly good light. This can be used to fool a scientifically ignorant audience, the Wisconsin State Legislature, for example.
Same goes for the Milorganite produced from last Friday's burrito and the waste byproducts from ethanol production. The Milorganite has no nutritional value and distillers grains have no use as motor fuels. Therefore, these byproducts do not get considered in determining the efficiency of the process, be it digestive or ethanol distillation.
The implications to the analysis in The Futility of Ethanol of disregarding byproduct production will be addressed in a later post.
I have reviewed the Net Energy Balance of Ethanol Production issue brief from Ethanol.com and found that they use the term "Energy Ratio" not "Energy Efficiency." Therefore, my above rant misses the mark.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
I kept walking as it sunk in, then I had to write it down.
How far from reality was his thinking? Our nation with no corporate jobs, what would be left? Not even the headshop three doors from where the kid was standing. I still haven't figured it out.
No wonder Uncle Jimbo loves living in Madison.
I am now a quarter of the way through Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism. The introduction was tedious; but the subsequent chapters on Mussolini and Italian Fascism, Hitler and Nazism, and Wilson and his version of American Progressivism are very enlightening. Especially when put in the context of the current presidential primary election and rhetoric.
I am pretty convinced that Goldberg wrote his book with Hillary Clinton's campaign in mind. Not just the examples he uses and comparisons he makes, but she is even better footnoted than Bill.
Barack Obama not so much, just two citations in the index, with nothing really to note. Maybe Goldberg can add something in a subsequent printing with Barack in mind, there are significant parallels to be made.
Another thing from the book is how the political agenda of today's Democratic Party differs so little from the Progressive agenda of a century ago. Nationalized healthcare, an anti-business perspective, government handouts to pensioners, expansion of government and government powers - it is all still there.
Thinking of the stumper question being asked of Obama supporters (What has Barrack Obama ever done?), another one came to mind: What new ideas have the progressives had in the last 75 years?
Buy Liberal Fascism here.
Mr. Arnold, you are violating Department of Homeland Security policy:
MARSHALL, MINN. - The van driver who witnesses say plowed into a school bus, killing four children, appeared in court Friday to face vehicular homicide charges. But authorities still aren't sure who she is, saying she's in the country illegally and using a phony name.
Sitting in a wheelchair with a broken leg Friday in Lyon County District Court, the woman said her name was Alianiss Nunez Morales. She said she'd been working in a Cottonwood, Minn., cabinet shop and living with her boyfriend in a trailer in nearby Minneota until they broke up Tuesday, the day of the crash.
But federal immigration investigator Claude Arnold said Morales is not the woman's name, and she is not revealing her identity. He said that she is here illegally, probably from Mexico.
As a matter of DHS policy, any personally identifiable information (PII) that is collected, used, maintained, and/or disseminated in connection with a mixed system by DHS shall be treated as a System of Records subject to the Privacy Act regardless of whether the information pertains to a U.S. citizen, Legal Permanent Resident , visitor, or alien.
So what is it? Does ICE uphold this DHS policy, or just use it to selectively obstruct inquiries from the public?
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
To the fellow who took offense at my slagging engineers for elevating engineering efficiency over morality, well, you're right. I should have said that "this is the problem with many engineers who wade into public-policy debates." I know a lot of engineers are pragmatists and straight-thinkers. But I've found that the ones drawn to public policy (and I also include scientists in this) tend to ignore (or are unaware of) the fundamentals of good public-policy design. So for the activist climate scientist, only a linear response to climate change is acceptable: if putting emissions up causes change, you must stop putting emissions up. You can't think about accepting some change, and mitigating other change, or some downstream sequestration, or geo-engineering. If these people were physicians, and a patient complained of stomach pain from eating, they'd insist the only answer was to give up eating. And, a disclaimer: my doctorate is in environmental science and engineering. I'm doubly damned.I see Ken's distinction now. He deals with academics and think-tankers, I deal with real-world engineers.
I do think Mr. Green's efficiency vs. morality comparison hit the wrong target. In my experience, it is management who makes that call, not engineers. Engineers are left making cost-benefit recommendations based on the resources they are budgeted.
Monday, February 18, 2008
Vincent T. Lombardi
In rapid succession, Newswatch hands me three of four blocks.
Some voter registration forms arrive late
Gwen Moore mistaken on voting age
DA won't have prosecutors at polls
Then nothing. Nada. Zilch.
I'm still waiting.
Well, you have to play the hand you're dealt.
No one tell Tom McMahon I stole his schtick.
For the procedure I had to recline on an elevated lounge to have an IV inserted. The male technician found a vein, tied it off and had me clench my fist. As he firmly grasped my arm, preparing to stick the needle, he moved slightly forward so that my knuckles pressed into him below his waist.
"Huh, what is that touching my hand?" I thought to myself. "Hurry up and stick that vein."
"You are going to feel a slight prick now," he says.
I certainly did.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
So far, we've learned in Part 1 that Obama speaks well, but is not well spoken, and in Part 2 that Barack may not have written anything since third grade.
Part 3 examines Barack Obama's professional resume. The following was pieced together from this article, this website, and Wikipedia.
1979-1981Everyone embellishes their resume (if they say they don't, they are liars). It's okay, and is similar to doing your taxes; you're expected to put things in the most favorable light. With this in mind, I will boil down Barry's experience and qualifications in terms we can all understand:
Occidental College, no degree
Columbia University, BA Political Science
Harvard Law School, JD
Lecturer, U of Chicago Law School*
Illinois State Senator
StudentThe Girl Scout Leader comparison comes from watching Mrs. Headless serve as a GS Service Unit Manager for several years. When I read the US News & World Report article on Obama, I said to myself, "That's what Mrs. Headless did." Although she worked harder than Barack and was not paid. For those familiar with SDC and the Milwaukee Poverty Pimps, that's the kind of organization that was employing Obama.
Girl Scout Leader
A twenty-five year career without a single promotion or professional advancement noted. I will not count his unopposed run for the U.S. Senate, that was not a promotion, but a new job based on his embellished resume.
Look for yourself: Barack couldn't hack it in the financial services world; did community organizing and got tired of it, so he decided to go to law school (where he publishes nothing); had an entry level legal job, apparently another failure, so he goes into college lecturing. Even there he couldn't even make it to Associate Professor, so he gives politics a shot.
Job durations after college: 2 years; 3 years; 3 years; 3 years; 2 years; 3 years; 8 years (finally a job he could keep, although his Illinois Senate accomplishments are nil); 4 years.
Nothing in those four years in the U.S. Senate, until this week. To show some gravitas, Barack is now proposing his Global Poverty Act. Again, it sounds good to some, but in reality Obama is veering away from the mainstream Democratic liberal fascism and national socialism in order to embrace an international communist agenda. To the left of Hillary does not begin to describe it.
Take it from someone who knows about this, all of Obama's jobs were about nothing. No work product was required, except for financial sales and law - where he apparently failed.
Oh yeah, I'm not done yet. There's at least one more coming.
*Lecturer - Wasn't that Kevin Barrett's title?
When leaving Woodman's, I left Mrs. Headless and two Headless Children at the checkout and went to the liquor store to purchase some birthday beer for Headless Child #3.
When I went to checkout, there were two lines, one was 5 deep, the other had 2 people. At the head of my line was an Indian gentleman, I'll call him Ramesh. Ramesh was purchasing 14 2-liter bottles of red wine. A friendly black man came in and asked to pass through my line to begin shopping. The wine was rung up and Ramesh didn't like the price, it came up at $5.69 a bottle instead of $3.69. The cashier canceled the transaction as the black man gets in the other line with his 12-pack of Bud Light. She proceeds to ring up each bottle separately for Ramesh.
Oh-oh. Ramesh has a card in in hand, does he know Woodman's only takes debit? When each bottle is finally rung in, Ramesh scans his card upside-down, but it is debit. Oh yeah, the black guy is leaving with his Bud Light now. Ramesh finally figures out how to use the debit pad (Oh crap, there is a case of Special Ex under Ramesh's cart that was not rung in - I SEE NOTHING. NOTHING.). Ramesh now moves out of line and stops. He is auditing his receipt, line-by-line.
The next guy quickly completes his transaction as the cashier spots the case of Special Export - crud, I almost made it. She tells him he has to pay for the beer and to get in line, the end of the line (yes, there is a God). I check out, paying cash and return to the Headless Family as they are finishing with their check out.
Mrs. Headless says her line was worse. I know not to argue.
Wisconsin Cheddar Beer Soup.
Chunks of Polska Kielbasa are in there too, and the croûtons are homemade.
KITTEN FOUND IN SUBWAY
All right, anyone not touched by this has no heart
This young feral male adopted us within the past month. He was living in our polebarn and Mrs. Headless caught him in a livetrap using catfood for bait. He must have been close to starving.
When she found him in the trap, he was spinning around like The Tasmanian Devil. The assistant at the vet also reported that after his first night there he was hanging on the cage door like one of those Garfield car-window dolls.
So far he has lost his fleas, ear mites, worms and boy parts. He no longer hisses, spits and bites; and has started purring and is learning to meow. He is still terrified and sits in that corner of our tub most of the time for security. He is a good lap cat already, staying still and enjoying the attention.
We named him Lucid, for obvious reasons.
Wisconsin Cheddar Beer SoupEnjoy this soup to warm up after shoveling all of this snow.
In a large saucepan or dutch oven over medium heat, melt 1/4 cup of butter. Stir in 1/4 cup of flour until smooth; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
Stir in 2-1/2 cup of milk, 1 cup of beer, 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce, 1-1/2 tsp dry mustard, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper. Reduce heat; simmer 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Stir in 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese until melted.
If desired, cut 1/4 pound of smoked sausage in small cubes, and brown sausage in a skillet over medium heat. Cooked sausage may be stirred into soup or used to individually top bowls. Croûtons may also served with this soup.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
Please help me to spread the word. Been busy, and I'm late getting this announcement out about IX Lives musical performances coming up:
TONIGHT! In downtown Wausau, on the square, at MULLARKEY's 9 p.m. ("unplugged" show).
Sat, Feb 23rd - Papa's Social Club, MILWAUKEE (77th & Burleigh) 9:30 p.m.
Sat, March 1st - Fuel Stop, Almond (Hwy J off of Hwy D) 9:30 p.m.
Fri, March 7th - Mullarkey's, on the square, downtown Wausau, 9 p.m. (unplugged)
Our unplugged version is still electric, but doesn't include the huge sound system. It also features more Zeppelin, Floyd, and Petty. We're taking some vacation time in the middle of March, and will hit it hard again in April, May and all summer. IX Lives is playing a Harley Owner's Group festival at Ho Chunk Casino June 14. We don't yet have our Summerfest date, nor Taste of Chicago, but these are coming. Check out the sights and sounds at our website, www.ix-lives.com
I'll try to make next Saturday's gig at Papa's Social Club, if it happens to fall between blizzards. IX Lives will make it worthwhile.
IX LIVES covers bands such as Aerosmith, Boston, Kansas, Yes, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Styx, Genesis, Foreigner, Journey, REO Speedwagon, Pink Floyd and many, many others. With four strong vocalists IX LIVES is able to reproduce many of the soaring harmonies that were characteristic of music from that era. Very few bands are covering the vocally and instrumentally challenging material that IX lives is performing.
Will it ever end?WINTER STORM WATCH
URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE...CORRECTED
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE MILWAUKEE/SULLIVAN WI
555 AM CST SAT FEB 16 2008
...WINTER STORM MILO WITH VARIOUS PRECIPITATION
TYPES FOR SOUTHERN WISCONSIN LATE TONIGHT THROUGH
.STRONG LOW PRESSURE IS BRINGING WINTER STORM
MILO TO SOUTHERN WISCONSIN LATE TONIGHT THROUGH
SUNDAY EVENING. THE LOW WILL DEVELOP IN THE
SOUTHERN PLAINS THIS AFTERNOON...THEN INTENSIFY
AND MOVE NORTHEAST THROUGH THE CHICAGO AREA
AROUND MID AFTERNOON ON SUNDAY.
CURRENT FORECASTS SHOW THAT MILO HAS THE
POTENTIAL TO BE UPGRADED TO A CATEGORY III
THE FORECAST TRACK OF THE LOW MAY CHANGE
LEADING UP TO SUNDAY...BUT BEST INDICATIONS
FOR THE LOCATION OF THE HEAVIEST SNOW BAND
WILL BE WEST OF THE MILWAUKEE METROPOLITAN
AREA...JUST ON EITHER SIDE AND WEST OF A
LINE FROM DARLINGTON...THROUGH MADISON...TO
FOND DU LAC.
The Headless Snow Team recommends that you have the following on hand tomorrow: a stick of butter; a quarter cup of flour; 20 oz. milk; a bottle of beer; Worcestershire Sauce; dry mustard; salt; cayenne pepper; 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese; croutons (optional); and smoked sausage (optional). Standby for further instructions.
This has been a report from the Headless Snow Team.
With this follow-up.
And what has Obama published on constitutional law or any other legal topic? Although he was president of the Harvard Law Review as a student, in which capacity he no doubt wrote some unsigned notes, a search of the HeinOnline database of law journals turns up exactly nothing credited to Obama in any law review anywhere at any time. This is yet more indication that his status as "lecturer" at Chicago was not a regular faculty appointment, since regular full-time faculty are expected to produce scholarship.
Let me say that again. There appears to be not one single article, published talk, book review, or comment of any kind, anywhere in the professional legal literature, under Barack Obama's name, notwithstanding an apparent eleven-year teaching career in constitutional law at a top-flight law school.
In my thoughts ... on the titanic constitutional-law career of Barack Obama, I presumed that in his time as president of the student-edited Harvard Law Review, he'd have published some unsigned notes, which for that reason don't show up in database records as authored by him. Now I hear from a well-placed source that Obama is remembered by his contemporaries as having written nothing at all for the HLR during his time working on its student editorial staff. That is . . . unusual.No legal publications, even while president of the Harvard Law Review, yet Obama's constitutional legal scholarship while in grade school is well remembered.
Scritch, scritch, scritch [me, scratching my head] - has Obama ever demonstrated any written cognitive skills beyond third grade? I don't believe that being named in a footnote counts.
In third grade, Senator Obama wrote an essay titled 'I Want To Be a President.' His third grade teacher: Fermina Katarina Sinaga "asked her class to write an essay titled 'My dream: What I want to be in the future.' Senator Obama wrote 'I want to be a President,' she said." [The Los Angeles Times, 3/15/07]
In kindergarten, Senator Obama wrote an essay titled 'I Want to Become President.' "Iis Darmawan, 63, Senator Obama's kindergarten teacher, remembers him as an exceptionally tall and curly haired child who quickly picked up the local language and had sharp math skills. He wrote an essay titled, 'I Want To Become President,' the teacher said." [AP, 1/25/07 ]
More to come.
Friday, February 15, 2008
It wasn't very long ago that behavior like this might get you a trip to the nearest USMC recruiter.
In the most recent case, Jagla was charged with one count of sexual assault of a student by school staff, a felony that carries a possible six-year prison term.
According to the criminal complaint, the sexual assault involved indecent touching by Jagla, who coached freshmen boys basketball, at Jagla's residence on Jan. 19 while the two were watching the movie "Knocked Up." Jagla lives with his parents, the complaint says.
The girl said she had given Jagla the movie to watch, the complaint says.
She had been exchanging text messages and instant messages with him since November, the complaint says.
On the night of the incident, Jagla told investigators, he and the girl kissed and he touched her inappropriately over the course of about five minutes.
Call me old fashioned, but I thought the legal term for this was DATING, not sexual assault.
But in today's paper, the MJS compares this guy to the freak who molested 4 boys and another freak who had sex (YES - SEXUAL INTERCOURSE) with a GIRL who was 41 years younger. What an unfair comparison and stupid application of this law. This guy made it to 2nd base, maybe third, and he faces a lifetime labeled as a sexual predator.
A more appropriate comparison would be to this gentleman.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Since then, Fraley and Uncle Jimbo have piled on, and the discussion continues at The Corner.
I dunno, I must be missing a gene or two. Everybody, including even some conservatives, is telling me what a fine uplifting orator Barack Obama is. All I see is great gusts of hot air. When he says something that actually has any semantic content, either it is just false, or else it is naked socialism.
I was just looking through Obama's latest oratorical masterpiece. It strikes me as obnoxious, where it is not just flatulent.… we've got young people all across this country who have never had a reason to participate until now.
The "reason to participate," for people of any age, is the sense of citizenly duty. This sense didn't exist before Obama showed up?We're up against the belief that it's all right for lobbyists to dominate our government, that they are just part of the system in Washington.
But lobbyists are part of the system in Washington. It says so in the First Amendment: "… to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Obama wants to repeal the First Amendment?
More later ...
Either O'B made a long-strategic decision very early on in life that he was going to climb the political ladder, and that therefore the less of a trail of opinions he left behind him, the less trouble he'd get into; or he really is a quite exceptionally empty suit. Which is it? Which is scarier?
A reader:Mr. Derbyshire, as a law student, I find it amazing that Obama could leave Harvard without a pretty serious paper-trail. I side more on commercial law stuff when comes to selecting classes, and yet I've written fairly substantial (30+) policy papers on religion in the public sphere; the death penalty; Gitmo; Supreme Court justices, etc. And that's for a guy who tries to avoid the fluffy stuff.
I find it impossible to believe that the editor of the Harvard Law Review doesn't have anything substantial with his name on it from then (the George Washington Law Review requires not 1, but 2 essay contests each requiring 20+ papers on various public policy and legal questions to be an editor).
Feingold, Russell D. (D-WI) Did not request earmarks
What is Russ doing in Washington besides being Jim Doyle's partner in killing Wisconsin's economy? Nationally, taxes leave and do not come back - especially when one of our two Senators does not "request" that money be spent here.
Note - I am not a fan of earmarks, but if everyone else does it and we don't, Wisconsin is a net loser.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
“We deserve an America that allows each of us to be what we can be, with no limits to our dreams or our ability to dream. Together, we can achieve a greater sense of America, unrestrained by the policies of the past. Together, we will see our collective opportunities, our collective aspirations, fulfilled. While some hope to keep us down with more of the same, our call for change is resonating across this great land. We will not be so casually cast aside. Together, we can. Yes we can.”My other thought was that this was similar to one of those management jargon or mission statement generators. Dang, I was almost right, Fraley was the Obama Gibberish Generator.
Flip is on the same track, offering this Obama Bingo card. Some talented individual can combine the two and create a web-based Obama Gobbledygook Generator.
Sunday, February 10, 2008
I had never considered this additional screw-job for users of E85 (and E10) fuels. They are paying the full motor fuel tax, which is based on pure gasoline, on a fuel that has only 75% of the energy of the real thing. Considering the corresponding penalty in gas mileage, that works out to a 33% tax premium for using E85.
Brazil also had to mandate that E100 ethanol be taxed 25 percent less than gas (in order to make up for ethanol’s inherent 25 percent shortcoming in fuel efficiency relative to gas), mandate a 20-percent ethanol fuel mix for gas (the U.S. mandate is currently 10 percent), nationalize the state oil industry in order to goose production, massively subsidize that production to the tune of $1.20 a gallon (the much-maligned U.S. corn subsidy is “only” 51 cents) . . . and even then still had to ban diesel-fueled cars (the best alternative to gas).
In short, Brazil’s government declared ethanol a national-security imperative and took over the energy sector. “If alcohol fuels really can't compete, let that be proven in an open market,” writes Zubrin. Been there, done that. Over its 25-year experiment, Brazil — with the optimum crop and climate for biofuel — found ethanol could not compete necessitating the comprehensive, aforementioned government intervention.
Similarly, drivers who have been using 10% ethanol reformulated gas have been paying a 4% tax premium. These disparities should be addressed by the Wisconsin legislature, although I understand that anything involving math and/or energy is way over their intellectual capabilities.
Mr. Payne's post was part of an excellent ongoing discussion of ethanol adulterated fuels at Planet Gore for the past week.
Saturday, February 09, 2008
This is amusing, check out Paula Deen Coronary Watch 2006 at TVGasm to see Paula drinking melted butter.
The most disgusting part is when she pours what's left of the butter into the food processor. Remind me not to eat anything cooked by this woman.
Also see the original Paula Deen Coronary Watch.
I'm also going to beat Kevin in posting this one, before he adds it to his Greatest Love Songs of All-Time (the music begins at 1:25).
After his bashing by the extreme right, the perception of McCain has shifted left, away from Limbaugh and the other candidates.
McCain may have a chance to win November's general election if he can push independent voters' perception of Clinton and Obama to the left.
Friday, February 08, 2008
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
They're replacing the spinning bikes at my gym. Remarkable machine, innovative engineering, lousy seat. I'm taking a wrench next time for some fine tuning of that ball-buster.
- 100% compliance (mini-Butterfingers, Kit Kats and Reese's today, a big challenge).
- Missed this once so far (an old friend was in the area).
- Same as #2.
Monday, February 04, 2008
I thought of this while dropping off my son at UWM's Sandburg Hall dormitory. The cloud of smoke outside of the front entry was worse than in the small tavern/restaurant where I dined on Saturday. It came from a cluster of 18 to 20 year old dorm residents. I found it disgusting to see these intelligent young people addicting themselves to tobacco, and exposing my son to this poison.
These are children. They are our future. And the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee condones it.
The Wisconsin State Senate has been spending substantial time and energy trying to stop old men from smoking in bars, but they allow these children to smoke on campus. That is wrong.
Before even thinking of banning consensual activities on private property, the Senate needs to address the health of employees, students and visitors on state owned property. I don't mean just the buildings. I mean everywhere on state property, indoors and out. Here is my proposal (so far):
- All state property will be smoke-free. Including college campuses, state parks, the Capitol Square, and all property surrounding state owned or leased buildings. That list is just a start.
- Smoking breaks are not allowed during working hours for state employees. We pay a large portion of their health insurance. While at work our employees need to adopt healthy lifestyles.
- All public schools in Wisconsin will be smoke-free zones. No smoking anywhere on these properties - that means outside, too. We cannot be too careful about our children's health, and need to avoid teachers being role models for smoking.
The answer to my question: The tavern is more appropriate for smoking. In fact, there may be no more appropriate place to smoke on this planet than in a bar.
And remember, it is for the children.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
It was the 1960's fountain at Brookfield Square Mall with the slow dripping liquid winding down the spiral strings with colored light shining through. As a kid I would watch that thing for hours as my mom and sister were shopping. It was an event for a kid from Madison to drive to Brookfield to watch it.
I can't find anything about the fountain on the internet. Whatever happened to it?
I'm not imagining this, am I?
I work with several retired guys at the nuke plant. The money is too good for them to walk away, so they keep working into their late 60's as contractors. Great guys. Dedicated, hard working and still sharp.
But I wouldn't think of signing any of them to run an important 4-year project where replacement of the manager could mean failure instead of success. These guys are 5 years younger than John McCain and working in a far less stressful job. McCain's ego is no reason to hand him the keys to this country until he is 76.
One other thing to consider is that people's judgment and reasoning declines with age. Look at the shift in the positions of Supreme Court Justices with age and some of Ronald Reagan's decisions toward the end of his term.
Since there are no 72 year old commercial pilots still transporting passengers, am I to conclude that 100 lives on a plane are more important than 300 million in a nation?
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Truth imitating science fiction?
It is time for Mr. Tapping to reassess his concerns.
The Canadian Space Agency’s radio telescope has been reporting Flux Density Values so low they will mean a mini ice age if they continue.
Like the number of sunspots, the Flux Density Values reflect the Sun’s magnetic activity, which affects the rate at which the Sun radiates energy and warmth. CSA project director Ken Tapping calls the radio telescope that supplies NASA and the rest of the world with daily values of the Sun’s magnetic activity a “stethoscope on the Sun”. In this case, however, it is the “doctor” whose health is directly affected by the readings.
This is because when the magnetic activity is low, the Sun is dimmer, and puts out less radiant warmth. If the Sun goes into dim mode, as it has in the past, the Earth gets much colder.
Tapping, who was originally from Kent, says that “Typically as you go through the ten or eleven year solar activity cycle you see the numbers go up or down. The lowest number is 64 or 68. The numbers 71 or 72 are very low, but they usually start to go up. We are at the end of a cycle, but the numbers still haven’t gone up. We have been joking around coffee that we may be seeing the Sun about to shut down.” (To date Tapping has been far more concerned about global warming.)
BREVARD, Jan. 19, 2008 Retired Army Green Beret Smokey Taylor got his court martial this weekend and came away feeling good about it.My favorite part:
Taylor, at age 80 the oldest member of Chapter XXXIII of the Special Forces Association, was on trial by his peers under the charge of failing to use a weapon of sufficient caliber in the shooting of an intruder at his home in Knoxville, TN, in December.
The entire affair, of course, was very much tongue in cheek. Taylor had been awakened in the early morning hours of Dec. 17, 2007, when an intruder broke into his home. He investigated the noises with one of his many weapons in hand. When the intruder threatened him with a knife, Taylor warned him, then brought his .22 caliber pistol to bear and shot him right between the eyes.
That boy had the hardest head Ive ever seen, Taylor said after his trial. The bullet bounced right off.
The impact knocked the would-be thief down momentarily. He crawled out of the room then got up and ran out the door and down the street. Knoxville police apprehended him a few blocks away and he now awaits trial in the Knox County jail.
The charges against Taylor were considered to be serious. He is a retired Special Forces Weapons Sergeant with extensive combat experience during the wars in Korea and Vietnam.
Charges were brought against him under the premise that he should have saved the county and taxpayers the expense of a trial, said Chapter XXXIII President Bill Long of Asheville. He could have used a .45 or .38. The .22 just wasnt big enough to get the job done.
After the trial he said the ammunition was indeed old and added the new information that the perp had soiled his pants as he crawled out of the house.
I would have had an even worse mess to clean up if it had gone through his forehead, Taylor said. It was good for both of us that it didn't.
Friday, February 01, 2008
An engineer's eye view of atmospheric carbon.
Fact: The earth is a closed system for carbon.*
That means that any carbon that was on earth when life began is still here. It also means that any carbon now here has always been on the planet.
Some of the carbon that is here has changed from inorganic to organic compounds. That carbon is now a part of plant and animal life, or buried beneath us in the form of hydrocarbons and sedimentary rock. Any carbon released by the use of coal or petroleum is just returning the carbon to the place it originated, although most remains buried. Therefore, we are now at a historically LOW level of atmospheric carbon.
My Geologist Guy remarks.
I hadn't thought about the closed system before. It makes perfect sense that levels during the Carboniferous Period (hence the name) were much, much higher than now. Plant and animal life thrived during that period to give us the coal and petroleum deposits we are mining now.Don't believe the eco-alarmists, atmospheric carbon is at historically low levels.
The earth survived these extremely high carbon levels and life thrived. Putting some small percentage of this carbon back in the air is a non-event. We'll still be at historically low carbon levels in the geological timeframe - something much longer than the 5 to 100 decades being studied by today's atmospheric researchers (as a point of reference, the Carboniferous Period ended 28 million decades ago). The carbon is also a non-factor because water vapor is the dominant greenhouse gas controlling our climate.
Why we do not face a climatic disaster
The Earth is capable of self regulating its temperature within a certain range. With all the things that have been thrown at her over millions of years (solar variations, volcanic eruptions, large meteorites, and Carboniferous carbon levels), if the planet could not cope and compensate, it would be long-dead.
My Geologist Guy (who, btw, has a sibling working at NOAA) once pointed out that water vapor is not accounted for in the climate change models predicting global warming. This is in spite of the fact that clouds and water vapor are the best gases to keep the weather reaction self-moderating. As temperatures rise, so does atmospheric water vapor as clouds, which reflect solar energy to maintain temperature in the control band. The opposite happens with lowering temperatures due to volcanic dust or reduced solar output. The bio-based carbon capture mechanisms also contribute as moderators.
As for human survival when facing environmental change, our ancestors response to changing temperature was not to dig in their heals to protect Lambeau Field or some other rapidly freezing tundra. They adapted by moving to a more hospitable place as climate changed. For example, into Greenland as things warmed up and back nearer the equator as things cooled.
With all the variables involved, and thinking of the almost perfect atmospheric balance of the Earth over its history, one might believe that some intelligent designer was involved.
Feedback from Geologist Guy.
If the planet wasn't self-regulating, the climate would be in a runaway, positive feedback loop and we wouldn't be here to discuss it. Fortunately for us, water vapor provides the negative feedback to offset both natural and man-made emissions. NOAA freely admits on their website that water vapor is the predominate "greenhouse gas" by far, much more so than CO2 or any other gas. And the human contribution of CO2 is less than the natural contribution, again by far. Of course, none of this squares with the eco-alarmists, who need to generate public hysteria to get their funding and adulation.Motives
Cloud formation regulates the planet's temperature. As the earth warms and cloud cover increases, more light is reflected to space than reaches the surface. As the earth cools, cloud cover decreases, allowing more energy to reach the surface to warm things up. There's evidence that cloud formation is also strongly influenced by the solar cycles (11 year and long term over centuries). If a designer came up with this system, they were very intelligent.
In my opinion, it is the height of human arrogance to presume that man can override the planet's natural thermostat.
At its base, the anti-global warming movement can be reduced to the selfish drive of some to maintain their lifestyles at the expense of others. Whether it is a property near sea level in Manhattan, a California beach house or a huge home in Middle Tennessee; they expect others to sacrifice so they may continue to live an unchanging lifestyle.
- They don't want their property value to decline due to rising sea levels, but have no problem expecting billions of Chinese to refrain from economic development and a higher standard of living.
- They don't want their air conditioning costs to rise in the South, but have no problem with Northerners paying more for heating or people dying from exposure to more hostile winters.
- They don't want to burn petroleum, so they promote their feel-good biofuels, and have no problem destroying rainforests and threatening the lives of millions whose survival is reliant on inexpensive corn.
Selfish does not begin to describe these people.
* This statement ignores the de minimis changes due to sending carbon based astronauts into space, carbon as a nuclear fission byproduct, and the capture of neutrons by nitrogen to form C-14.