Monday, January 7, 2019

Early January Links

It looks like the National Championship game might end up 54-52 or something.  Here are a few links for your reading pleasure:

The Ball Family Circus Comes To Ohio - Deadspin

Chicago Catholics struggle to build future with fewer priests as parishes shrink, cash dwindles – Chicago Tribune.  Not surprising, but kind of sad anyway.

St. Louis city and county: Divorced in 1876. Remarried in 2020? – St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  The massive number of municipalities in St. Louis County is crazy.  One only has 13 residents.

Wettest-Year Records for 2018, Take Two – Weather Underground.  So much rain.

Scientists Have 'Hacked Photosynthesis' In Search Of More Productive Crops - The Salt

Putin says Russia will supply soy beans, poultry meat to China – Reuters.  Probably just bullshit to rock the boat politically, but we really are shooting ourselves in the foot. 

The Farm Bureau: Big Oil’s Unnoticed Ally Fighting Climate Science and Policy – Inside Climate News

Fracking’s Secret Problem—Oil Wells Aren’t Producing as Much as Forecast – Wall Street Journal

Trump Has Promised to Bring Jobs Back. His Tariffs Threaten to Send Them Away. - New York Times.  The steel and aluminum tariffs just punish metal consuming manufacturers.  More foot-shooting.

How Mark Burnett Resurrected Donald Trump as an Icon of American SuccessThe New Yorker  

Donald Trump Was Never Vetted - New York Magazine.   When people are voting for him because The Apprentice convinced them that Trump is a genius businessman, I'm not sure more vetting was going to convince them he's a fuckup.

American Exceptionalism Is a Dangerous Myth – New York Magazine. 

The Businesspeople Who Have Helped Enable Steve King’s Rise - Iowa Informer.  Looks like a who's who of Iowa business.

This Map Shows Where in the World the U.S. Military Is Combatting TerrorismSmithsonian.  It would almost be easier to show where the U.S. military isn't.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Cellulosic Ethanol Holy Grail?

60 Minutes:
Perhaps Medoff's most consequential discovery is how to extract the plant sugars and convert them into to environmentally-friendly biofuels: ethanol, gasoline and jet fuel. Lesley Stahl: And I'm told that you call this thing a still. Marshall Medoff: It is a still. Lesley Stahl: It is a still? Marshall Medoff: It's actually making alcohol right now. Alcohol that you can drink, or you can put in your car, or you can do both. Marshall Medoff: Here we are, on the road again. Lesley Stahl: So Marshall, I am driving a huge truck on biomass fuel. It doesn't feel any different than normal gas to me. Marshall Medoff: No. It wouldn't. No. Medoff's ethanol is much better than regular corn ethanol in terms of greenhouse gas emissions - 77 percent better, according to a study that was independently reviewed.
This is definitely worth watching. I have no idea if this can be scaled up, but it would seem to be more promising than previous efforts. Of course, there was no information about how much biomass would have to be harvested in order to produce 30% of petroleum used in the country, but it takes 30 to 40 million acres of corn to produce 10% of the gasoline we consume. I'd probably still take the side saying this won't work out.

Video after the jump.