Politics Science

Yucca Mountain is on a Fault Line

The below-linked article has some great thoughts and information about the ongoing crisis – which appears to be taking a nasty turn towards full melt-down – in Japan’s Fukushima nuclear facility following the tsunami and subsequent seismic events there. But the real kicker for me is yet another example of Bush Administration ineptitude that could potentially have cost us dearly:

Guest Blog: Failure of Imagination Can Be Deadly: Fukushima is a Warning.

Getting rid of nuclear waste is an issue that continues to plague the industry. In the United States, the Yucca Mountain waste repository project in Nevada, (with an estimated budget of $96 billion, of which over $13.5 billion was spent) was finally canceled by the Obama Administration amid concerns that the expense far exceeded the benefit of transporting spent fuel and storing it at the site. Nevada is one of the most seismically active states and it was discovered that the Yucca Mountain project was placed on a fault line.

So, I’m guessing that, while this is a score for the Obama Administration, it kinda puts the brakes (doh! sp! ed.) on any future energy independence plans that might have involved nuclear power, wouldn’t you say?


It Snowed Today, But So Far, No Glaciers.

I was stunned and panic-stricken this morning. I looked outside my window and there was an unmistakable one to two inches of accumulated snow on top of my car. I couldn’t believe my eyes, seeing as how scientists have been telling me for years that the globe is actually warming, yet here it was obviously colder than it was yesterday. These two things stood in clear and obvious contradiction to one another, as any good Conservative talking head could tell you. Or, even if you can’t find a good one, anybody on Fox News could have explained it.

But so far, I haven’t seen any glaciers forming. I’ve been watching all morning and nothing. Even more confusing, I think there’s a chance that it may have warmed up a degree or two since six thirty this morning. So, who is right? Fox News or the global warming scientists? With the weather changing so much, it’s really hard really pin it down. Fortunately, Rachel Maddow had Bill Nye the Science Guy on her show to explain it to me. Looking back, I almost feel as though all those Conservative yakkers were perhaps being a trifle disingenuous. Could that be right?

Me, Confused by Snow
Thinking for yourself is hard. Here I am, outside in the snow, but there's no glaciers. What's up with that?

It all makes me wonder. Should I not just believe what people tell me? Is it really necessary to educate myself before I speak about a subject? That certainly doesn’t sound right, but I guess I should. It makes me wonder about the tee shirt I just bought from a place called Ban Tee Shirts. I bought it because it has a monkey on it. I like monkeys. And this one seems very happy with his little beret on. Plus the girl on the home page is kinda hot. I support hot chicks.

And I naturally assumed the words underneath said “I like monkeys” or something I could get into, but it now I don’t think so. Now I think it might say “Long Live the Evolution.” I don’t often take such religious stances, but I can’t deny this is a comfy tee shirt: its 100% organic cotton and its red. Apparently, it’s also comfortable to make as well, since unlike all those great tee shirts I get at Walmart, these ones are sweatshop-free. Gosh! And here I was told that the reason stuff was cheap at Walmart was because of the slave labor. But Ban Tees are pretty cheap, too!

So, I think I’m gonna try thinking from now on. I think. What a thought….

NOTE: I did not actually buy this tee shirt. It was generously provided to me by Duncan from Ban in exchange for this poorly-written blog post. Check them out on FaceBook as well as their website..


GM and Segway Introduce: Sarcasm on Wheels

Just in case you thought GM was really taking this whole green car thing seriously, here comes the latest innovation in garbage can-shaped mobility from GM and Segway: the PUMA.

So, there’s your options: a huge SUV loaded to the gills with shit you don’t need; or a PUMA, which doesn’t even have sides and into which your confused kid might accidentally drop the bag of used kitty litter.


Wow. Way to Go, Vegas!

I don’t often say the above without being sarcastic, but I guess Las Vegas is owed a bit more respect after Earth Hour. Check out the before and after photography of Earth Hour, the hour when we were all supposed to have turned our lights off in solidarity against climate change. There are photos from all over the globe, from Jakarta to Las Vegas. . . and Las Vegas’ participation is impressive.

We participated at my house, did you?


Putin, You Old Softie, You!

Putin puts an end to clubbing baby harp seals in the White Sea. So ends a chapter that really freaked me out as a kid when I saw it on PBS. Long story.


News Updates for Monday

An interesting 1, 2, 3 punch in the world of Microsoft and tech jobs, Obama pushes for fuel efficiency and more today in this news roundup. Let’s get started:

  • President Obama is taking steps to roll back the Bush legacy of environmental “policy,” pushing to have CAFE standards raised to the proposed 2011 standards immediately, ordering the EPA to allow states to set more stringent environmental policies than the federal levels (California, ah-hem?). You know? I remember thinking that the Bush Administration went too far too fast reversing Clinton policies, I do wonder if the Obama Administration won’t suffer the same fate. Careful with that axe, Eugene.
  • Pfizer is buying Wyeth to create the biggest drug company, ever. The fact that so many of their own patents are coming to an end in the next few years is what has prompted the company to take this move despite their own financial problems. So, great. Now we have an even bigger company with more lobbyists to run around Washington.
  • Silicon Vally is experiencing a huge layoff crush right now. Microsoft is among the companies that’s laying off 5,000 workers. Punch one.
  • Meanwhile, as it lays off workers, Microsoft also continues to push beyond it’s capacity by trying to forge ahead with wireless plans (ask anyone who has an MS phone, they’ll tell you they’re in hell). However shall they do that while laying off workers? Punch two.
  • Funny you should ask. Senator Grassley of Iowa was wondering about the same thing. Specifically, he wondered why they should be laying off workers when they’ve got so many foreign visa workers that work so cheaply. Huh! Imagine that.

Boehner’s a Boner

It’s hard to imagine how you respond to such idiocy.  According to John Boner Boehner, there’s no wildlife in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.  Huh.

Think Progress » Boehner falsely claims there’s no ‘wildlife’ in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

In a press conference today previewing a House Republican trip to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that’s meant to promote drilling, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) doubted the existence of actual wildlife in the refuge. “We’re going to look at this barren, Arctic desert where I’m hoping to see some wildlife,” said Boehner. “But I understand there’s none there.” Boehner repeated his skepticism during an interview on CNN, telling Wolf Blitzer, “I’ll be looking for all that wildlife.” Ironically, CNN paired Boehner’s interview with b-roll of actual wildlife moving around the refuge.


Get a New Act

When it comes to trumpeting the failed policies and anaemic strategies of the national Republican Party, our local Republican Representatives never fail to live up to expectations.  Randy Kuhl and Tom Reynolds (who?) are both making public statements in favour of more drilling to solve our nation’s oil crisis.

Where is the pressure – from either party – on American auto makers to produce energy-efficient cars?  Where is the effort to bring manufacturers together around the idea of creating energy-efficient home appliances?

Debating the efficacy of drilling or bitching about coal isn’t getting us anywhere.


Uranium? Fluorides? Arsenic?

Via Itchy at RochesterTurning, the world’s largest uranium producer, Cameco, reports having accidentally leaked uranium, fluorides and arsenic into Lake Ontario.  Oops.

Yet another wonderful byproduct of the Manhattan Project:

The plant at Port Hope, Ontario, across the lake from Rochester and down the shore from Toronto, first refined uranium for the Manhattan Project during World War II. It has been temporarily closed since July to remove contaminated soil.


Blame Ethanol

I must say that, when a few weeks back, the drumbeat over Ethanol production creating the problems with rising food costs, I had quite a few doubts. I still do, but it was quite an eye opener to read that up to 30% or so of the corn production in this country is devoted to Ethanol production. Who knew it would grow so fast?

But of course, like everything else, we find ourselves wanting for genuine leadership from the White House and are left instead to blame the very same Ethanol that many people were only just recently praising. I wrote an article while back pointing out that some basic math proves Ethanol production alone cannot solve our energy crisis. I’m neither the greatest proponent nor the harshest critic of Ethanol, but that farmers would want to move into the more lucrative business of energy production shouldn’t come as any kind of surprise when fuel prices soar and there is no clear sense of direction in this country.

Another interesting argument is that we should suspend farm subsidies as a means to control the food price problem. The argument goes that we are paying farmers not to grow crops and increasing production would ease the world food prices. While the Farm Bill is without doubt a pork barrel mess of gargantuan proportions, it doesn’t seem to make sense to increase production for the sake of what is basically a conservation problem in the first place. Besides which, the original reason for the Farm Bill and farm subsidies was that over production caused the Dust Bowl. Perhaps some happy medium can be attained, but if so, we’re not hearing a lot of that kind of talk out of Washington.

So, what is to be done? Facing macro-economic crises on a scale that buggers the imagination of most Americans, we are once again left to fend for ourselves and find our own to find solutions, all of which seem too small to matter. Trusting that a drop begets a torrent and realizing there are whole blogs dedicated to much better ideas than my own, I’ll throw a few out that Sarah and I are trying to build towards. Anyone else coming up with new ideas for “resource effective” living? Post them in the comments:

  1. Fast food is evil! Every snack cracker, Super Jumbo Prehistoric Posterior Value Meal and boxed lunch you’ve ever eaten is larded with corn syrup. There are any number of levels on which this is bad, but principally for this discussion, it is adding to the demand for corn production without really adding any value to your life. This one’s really tough, but we’re trying to slowly wean ourselves off those things and onto fresher pastures.
  2. Build your sanctuary. As Americans, we tend to work ourselves to the bone, cut corners at home, and then long for a vacation every year. For Sarah and I, it is time to start thinking about making home feel like more of a sanctuary so we don’t have the same need for escape. Having a garden has been a big change for the better and the trendy new thing to do is landscape the hell out of your front yard. Eschew the boring suburban grass lawn and grow something that shows off a bit of personality!

There’s an Environmentally Friendly Option for Everything.

I tell ya, today has been an interesting day of surfing over here at DFE, people!

The Herbwife’s Kitchen » Flax in the bedroom.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, gooey flax tea makes a great personal lubricant!

Homemade lube. How cool is that?

. . . .

My first response to that recipe is that the quantities are way too large (unless you plan to give some away to all your friends). We’re talking about a perishable product here, so I’d suggest making only a cup or two at a time.

And, . . . say! Doesn’t that website look an awful lot like No reflection on you guys, I’m sure! LOL!


It’s The Gasoline, Stupid

Whoopsies. Every time the petroleum industry apologists come up with a new theory, science is there to bat it down:

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | More doubt on cosmic climate link

The idea that modern global warming is due to changes in cloudiness caused by solar influences on cosmic rays is popular with “climate sceptics”.

But scientists found changes in cosmic ray flux do not affect cloud formation – the second such report in a month.