Thursday, June 26, 2008

Germany and France ban pesticide linked to bees' disappearance; urge U.S. do the same

Germany has banned the use of clothianidin, a pesticide linked to Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), mentioned on this blog in earlier posts and widely reported in the press. Likewise, France has banned imidacloprid, which is linked to disorientation in honeybees, which may explain the occurrence of abandoned hives in instances of CCD.

Geneticists in both Germany and France are urging the U.S. to issue a ban on these pesticides, and the EPA is considering the issue. Read the full story at

Monday, June 23, 2008

One more on electric cars

Project Better Place has an interesting top-down model for getting people into electric vehicles, from the manufacture of cars, to a distributed network of charging stations and a subscription-based method for vehicle ownership. The company's website is worth a look, to see some creative thinking in action.

Okay, I'm getting a little too mired down in talk about alternatively fueled vehicles. This will be my last post on the subject for awhile, unless there is some dramatic breakthrough in the technology or the industy. Enjoy your vacation.

Zero carbon gasoline from yeast?

New energy options from the Environmental Defense Fund.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Website: Efforts of money interests to trump scientific inquiry demystified

The U.S. government and big industry (what's the difference, really?) are conspiring to alter the findings of scientific studies in order to best serve their own interests. They are tenacious, and their conspiracy runs deep. Trying to keep scientific truth separate from the government's version is difficult. This website seeks to unravel some of the tangled narrative:

The Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Environmental President? Ha!

Well, forget the notion that George W. Bush will be remembered as an environmental progressive. The sweeping motion to create hundreds of thousands of acres of maritime preserve has apparently been abandoned; at least I haven't heard any news about its passage. Instead, it's been replaced by a call for new offshore drilling to add to our nation's oil reserves. This is a wholly unneccessary endeavor, since the major oil companies are already sitting on thousands of 68 million acres of land, covered by signed lease -- oil-rich land that is being held for speculative purposes, presumably to be used to keep profits up if it becomes necessary. In addition, any oil discovered by new drilling off America's coasts, besides being environmentally risky, very likely won't show any influence on aggregate supply or retail gas prices until 2030.

This should teach us never to elect an administration that is as beholden to industry as Bush and Cheney.

(No links for this post; information is from a presentation by Sen. Barbara Boxer [D-CA] at a meeting of the Democratic Women's Leadership Council, broadcast yesterday on CSpan.)

Another factoid, from Rachel Maddow: the U.S. consumes 25% of the world's oil. We produce 2% of the world's oil. Even if we were able to increase our oil output by a factor of five (not likely, since all our refineries are already operating at capacity), we would still be able to produce only 10% of the world's oil -- while still consuming 25%! Seems to be time for some new thinking...

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Pinky Show

I love this website! Critical inquiry from some cartoon cats. Ain't the internet great? Go see!

Also look for them on YouTube.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Miscellaneous stuff

Just a few words to keep current -- my resident Eastern Phoebes have left their nest. It had fallen onto the porch from above the lamp where they had built it. I don't know if the young had matured and flew away on their own, or if they were the victims of predators. The adults seem to be still around, so perhaps it was the latter. I won't dwell on it. I'm sorry to see them go, and I hope they decide to rebuild someday in the same spot. I'll leave the light off for them.

Honda has announced the release of a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle, called the FCX Clarity. There are only 200 scheduled to be made in the initial production run, simply because the infrastructure required to refuel them will need to catch up. And they are expensive, at $600 per month on a three year lease. But with fuel economy the equivalent of 65 mpg, and the exhaust plain water vapor, the potential for replacing traditional fossil fuel vehicles seems extraordinary. See this article from the New York Times, or Google for more information.

See you next time. Namaste.