Dino Watch

This just in from ThinkProgress:

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/05/13/3436923/germany-energy-records/

Yes, Germany, with it’s average 30 days of sunshine a year, just hit 74.9% of it’s energy needs from renewables.

There’s a chart in the article, which shows that photovoltaics produces a fairly small percentage of the total, (wind and biomass do the heavy lifting) but that should give you an idea of what we could do here. Just for comparison purposes, I’m including a map to document just how freaking far north Germany is.

Image

Dino Watch

cornfield

There’s been quite a bit of coverage of GMOs lately. Mother Jones has been doing a great job. Some highlights:

  • Hog farmers have noticed that feeding genetically-modified corn reduces hog growth.
  • Organic farmers near land planted to GMO corn have lost their organic certification, since the wind-blown pollen from the corn contains synthetic nicotinoids, which are picked up by the soil tests.
  • Beekeepers are not amused, since the nicotinoids in the pollen affect the bees’ nervous systems, and their ability to find their way back to the hives.
  • And this just in: http://www.realfarmacy.com/40-tons-of-gmo-crops-torched-in-america-media-blackout/

How Do You Like Them Apples?

Here’s an interesting link from Mother Jones: Did you know that there were once hundreds of apple varieties grown in the US? What happened?
http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2013/04/heritage-apples-john-bunker-maine

And is there an alternative? Of course there is!
http://www.fedcoseeds.com/index.htm

Makes me wish I didn’t have a row of Cedar-Apple Rust-infected cedars along the back of my yard.
cedar apple rust
Talk about your alien life forms.

Dinosaurs Still Winning

http://www.ilsr.org/walmarts-death-grip-food-system-intensifying-poverty/

Dino Watch Twofer

Small Is Beautiful

Small Is Beautiful (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I suppose this was inevitable, but after the Masters of the Financial Universe finished inflating themselves to gargantuan proportions by tearing apart companies and feasting on their body parts, (aka arbitrage) some bright young MBA noticed that the same principles apply to them.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/r-paul-herman/too-big-to-fail-banks-les_b_1444769.html

Apparently the economics of scale that supposedly increase profit and led banks to merge, merge, merge and acquire non-banking affiliates aren’t working out any better for them than for those over-merged companies that they dismantled.

So this is the new normal. Giant megabanks are apparently next on the chopping block, as investors realize that smaller banks are more profitable and less risky.

So small is beautiful, after all.

And in other news:

It’s mammals versus dinosaurs, again, after all these years.

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-fossil-fuel-resistance-20130411

Trouble in Paradise

Backyard food production.

Backyard food production.

Just read this on the Huffington Post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/23/poverty-in-american-suburbs_n_2940688.html?utm_hp_ref=business
It’s so troubling, and so unnecessary. One becomes accustomed to reading about soup kitchens and food pantries in urban settings, yes with all the assumptions that engenders, but even in the city, you find urban farmers and community gardens.
What we’re looking at here, is a lack of skill. If you live in the suburbs, almost by definition, you have land. If you’re an American and you look back a few generations, there’s about a 90% chance you’ll find a farmer. The move from the country to the city and to a good paying job was regarded as moving up. Then when we moved from the city to the suburbs, that too was a move up, and along with that came a shift to little mini-landed estates, not a step “down” to vegetable gardens. I can’t count the number of developments I’ve seen with 5 to 10 acre “farmettes” that lack so much as a tomato plant. We went from “gardening” to “landscaping” and then outsourced the labor. As we left the farm for the city; left lives of manual labor for factory, and then office jobs, the skills our ancestors honed got abandoned by the wayside.
We can take them back, and improve our economic well-being in the process.
Now I know there are those who will point to the macroeconomic forces: tax policy, income inequality, political corruption, and so forth, as the real problem and say that by suggesting people learn to feed their own families out of their back yards, I’m somehow implying that we should all just lie down and revert to being peasants. I’m not.
By all means, read, unite, agitate, make a nuisance of yourself to your elected representatives, and above all, vote. We’re Americans. It’s what we do, or should.
But consider the possibility that not having to put your hat in hand and go to a food pantry to feed your family will make you that much stronger, self-sufficient, and self-confident.
So read the blog. Learn the techniques. Spend a buck on a tomato plant. Go for it. Tell your friends.

Food for Thought

One Day in the Gardenhttp://www.salon.com/2013/03/25/incomes_of_bottom_90_percent_grew_59_in_40_years/
I came across an interesting article on Salon.com today. Just in case you were wondering something along the line of, “Why bother growing your own food?” well, here’s one answer. You can look at it in a more negative light (Survival!) or as a means of depriving Big Ag/Business of the ability to profit from you, and thereby shrinking them, one family at a time, but either way, it’s sobering food for thought.

Sun and Sand

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/512646/abu-dhabi-plugs-in-giant-concentrating-solar-plant/

When the Land of Oil starts going solar, you know it’s a trend.

Sun and Sand

http://www.technologyreview.com/view/512646/abu-dhabi-plugs-in-giant-concentrating-solar-plant/

When the Land of Oil starts going solar, you know it’s a trend.

Alt Energy Strikes Again!

This just in from Slate. Yes, there is an alternative to frecking. Farting.
http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/alternative_energy/2013/03/distributed_generation_fuel_cells_for_on_site_power_plants.html