Supposedly good ideas that may not be good at all

Aside from the bad environmental news you may have heard about the items listed here and here, you may also have heard good things (from the government and from TV "news" programs) about things that aren't necessarily harmless, beneficial, feasible or affordable, such as the items listed below.

The information about ethanol has been moved here, because there was so much of it.  Ethanol is a prime example of an environmental fad that has become a "sacred cow" that no politician dares to oppose, even though it has failed to live up to the hype, and it comes with its own set of adverse unintended consequences.

Somewhere around here, there are two pages about compact fluorescent bulbs, or CFLs, a real environmental boondoggle, and an outstanding example of what this page is all about.  The second of those two pages shows a handy cost analysis:  Ordinary incandescent bulbs are much more economical.  But unfortunately the ordinary incandescent light bulb is being phased out, and the CFLs will be mandatory soon, along with 1.6 gallon toilets.

Note:  This list of supposedly good ideas has now produced a series of spin-off pages:

      Windmill generators

      Solar power

      Plastic bags

      Renewable energy


      Compact fluorescent light bulbs

      Mass transit and car pooling

      Green jobs

      Global warming "geo-engineering" solutions that are sure to be worse than the problem

      Electric cars

In addition, there is another page about environmental false alarms.

Subsections on this page:

      1.6-gallon toilets and low-flow shower heads


      Fluoride in the Public Water Supply

      Organic food



      "Green" buildings

      Earth day

      Earth hour

      The "smart" power grid

      Geo-thermal energy

      "Sustainable growth," "green buildings" and "net zero" construction

      Insects as food

      Saturated fat

      Antibacterial Soap

      Wood as fuel


      Self-driving cars

      Dockless bicycles and scooters

      Miscellaneous / everything

1.6-gallon toilets and low-flow shower heads:

Biden Doesn't Want Us To Have Nice Things.  The current administration announced last week that it intends to force low-flow showerheads on the country that popularized showering, overriding an effort by the Trump administration to give consumers more options and reining in a government that believes it has no boundaries.  Donald Trump, like so many of the rest of us, had grown weary of the trickling drip from showerheads that caused us to stay in the shower longer so we could thoroughly rinse ourselves.  His Department of Energy proposed to change the 2013 federal rule that set a limit on water flowing through shower heads to 2.5 gallons per minute, a flow rate that was initially established by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act of 1992 — signed into law by President "kinder and gentler" George H.W. Bush[.]  Had the revision gone through, the 2.5 GMP [sic] limit would have been applied to each individual nozzle in a shower head, rather than an entire head or unit, as was defined under the Obama administration, allowing for a greater flow of water.  This is what many consumers wanted.  They said so when they bought shower heads with multiple nozzles that were made to work around the 1992 rule.

The Automotive Low Flush Toilet.  You may recall.  The government decided that people were using "too much" water in the bathroom.  The solution was a fatwa outlawing toilets as they had been and requiring that new toilets be designed to use less water (1.6 gallons, about half the volume of water used in the old, "wasteful" toilets).  Everyone knows what the result was.  It now took two or more flushes to get the job done — which ended up using twice the water.  Sometimes the job didn't get done at all.  Eventually, the problems caused by the low-flow toilets was fixed by modifying the toilet to operate at higher pressure, so as to make more effective use of less water.  These toilets, of course, cost more than the old "water waster" toilets, now outlawed.  Instead, people waste money.

California Imposes Tough New Rules For Efficient Toilets, Faucets.  State officials took emergency action on the drought Wednesday [4/8/2015], imposing tough new standards for toilets, urinals and faucets sold in California starting January 1st.  In an unprecedented move by the California Energy Commission, made possible by the Gov. Jerry Brown's executive action last week, retailers won't be allowed to sell any of their remaining less efficient models after that date.

Exploding toilets force recall of pressure-assisted flushing system.  A pressure-assisted flushing system is being recalled because it can burst and cause the toilet tank to shatter.  According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the recall affects the Flushmate II 501-B pressure-assisted flushing system that was installed in 1.4 million toilet tanks between 1996 and 2013.  The system can burst at or near the vessel weld seam releasing stored pressure.  This pressure can lift the tank lid and shatter the tank, posing impact and laceration hazards to consumers and property damage.

Seven Inferior Products, Courtesy of the Green Movement.  The Green Movement's worship of scarcity has changed the consumer landscape for the worse.  Instead of big, powerful, and, most importantly, effective products, in 2012 consumers must suffer with pansy products.  Sure, they are designed to save energy and make you feel good.  But they just don't work as well as the old, and usually cheaper, versions.

The EPA's War on Home Appliances.  The 1992 Energy Policy Act states that all toilets sold in the United States use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush.  These water restrictions are the reason why we have to use plungers far more often than we used to.  As strange as it may seem, there used to be a thriving black market for Canadian toilets that actually flush.  As the executive editor of Laissez-Faire Books Jeffrey Tucker writes, "What we have in these regulations passed since the 1990s is therefore a step backwards from a central aspiration of mankind to dispose of human waste in the best possible way.  We have here an instance of government having forced society into a lower stage of existence."

Low-flow toilets cause a stink in SF.  San Francisco's big push for low-flow toilets has turned into a multimillion-dollar plumbing stink.  Skimping on toilet water has resulted in more sludge backing up inside the sewer pipes, said Tyrone Jue, spokesman for the city Public Utilities Commission.  That has created a rotten-egg stench near AT&T Park and elsewhere, especially during the dry summer months.

San Francisco's Crapper Control Goes Foul.  This summer, as the San Francisco Giants were steaming toward winning the World Series, there was a noticeable stench surrounding their home field, AT&T Park.  The Giant's ballyard hugs the San Francisco Bay.  During low tide, as the bay water ebbs, and microscopic organisms in the mud are exposed to air and rapidly begin to decay, creating a rotten smell.  During past baseball seasons, fans continually complained of the low-tide stink.  However, the sulfur-like scent wasn't the result of the ways of the sea.  It was caused by environmentalists having their way with Mr. Crapper's invention — the flush toilet.

California Hotels Go Green With Low-Flow Toilets, Solar Lights.  Visitors to the Gaia Napa Valley Hotel and Spa won't find the Gideon Bible in the nightstand drawer.  Instead, on the bureau will be a copy of "An Inconvenient Truth," former Vice President Al Gore's book about global warming.

Planet Parenthood.  People on the leftward side of the political spectrum say they want to "keep government out of your bedroom," by which they usually mean they oppose restrictions on abortion. … But it's an oddity of today's politics that abortion proponents tend to be allied with environmentalists, and environmentalists want government in every room in your house, from the bathroom (mandatory low-flow toilets) to the kitchen (energy saving appliances) to the garage (fuel-economy standards) to — well, any room with artificial lighting (the bulbs had better be the compact fluorescent variety).

Unflushable:  Not content to turn the bathrooms of the western world into chambers of low-flushing horrors, some environmentalists have a new target:  toilets as such.  They want to make sure they "save water" by preventing developing countries from installing any flush toilets at all.

Rand Paul and the 19-Year Libertarian War on Low-Flow Toilets.  [Scroll down]  The low-flow (1.6 gallon) limit on toilets was instituted with the 1992 Energy Policy Act, signed into law by George H.W. Bush.  Prior to that, toilets used anywhere from 3.5 to 5 gallons, according to major toilet manufacturer American Standard.  In 1999, then-Rep. Joe Knollenberg (R-Mich.) introduced a law to repeal the restriction, along with other efficiency standards for faucets, showerheads and urinals instituted in the 1992 bill.

Somewhat related...
Trying to Avoid Regulations? The Department of Energy is Not Amused.  Last month, the Department of Energy issued a "Showerhead Enforcement Guidance" related to flow standards through consumer showerheads.  You see, it turns out that "efficiency standards" tend to upset people, as it usually leads to products being outlawed that people really like.  What happened was that certain showerhead manufacturers were taking a bit of creative license in interpreting the definition of a "showerhead," and selling showerheads that (by the DOE's standards) exceeded the maximum allowable 2.5 gallons per minute.

Banning Toilet Paper:

Going Back In Time.  What sort of future are green groups pushing us toward?  If they get their way, it will be one that won't look much different than the world our great-grandparents were born into.  While some want to put an end to soft toilet paper, the Brits are moving toward a regime in which workers who discharge "more than their fair share of carbon emissions" will have their pay docked.  Meanwhile, in California, regulators are hoping to ban big-screen TVs.

Environmentalists Seek to Wipe Out Plush Toilet Paper.  There is a battle for America's behinds.  It is a fight over toilet paper... The reason, they say, is that plush U.S. toilet paper is usually made by chopping down and grinding up trees that were decades or even a century old.  They want Americans, like Europeans, to wipe with tissue made from recycled paper goods.

The March Of The New Luddites:  Global-warming alarmists now want to limit our use of toilet paper.  What's next, one-room shacks with bamboo fences?  Don't laugh.  That's also on their list of recommendations.

Live Green, Die Green.  The media have been all over stories of eccentric families' toilet paperless lifestyles and their green weddings, but now CNN has pushed the peripheries of ecological awareness to the end of life by making the case for a green funeral.


The Absurdity of Using the Biosphere to Power the Technosphere.  There are two main types of biofuel, bioethanol and biodiesel.  The primary sources of bioethanol are corn and sugarcane; the primary source of biodiesel is palm oil.  In both cases, the spread of plantations to grow these crops has devastated some of the most fragile ecosystems on the planet.  From cane ethanol in Brazil, to palm oil in Indonesia, thousands of square miles of rainforest are lost every year to new plantations.  In 2016, for a few brief weeks, the world paid attention to the problems being caused by biofuel production.  That was when forest fires raged across Indonesia, sending a toxic haze across thousands of miles, making the air barely breathable for millions of people in Borneo, Java, Sumatra, Singapore and Malaysia.  The cause of these fires?  Land owners burning rainforests to make room for palm oil plantations.  The idea that achieving alleged "carbon neutrality" is a sufficient benefit to offset the replacement of rainforest with monocrop plantations of palm trees and sugar cane is ridiculous.

DOC Targets Biodiesel Dumping.  U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross recently announced the affirmative final determinations in the antidumping duty investigations of imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia.  The Commerce Department determined that exporters from these countries sold biodiesel in the United States at more than 60 percent less than fair value.  As a result of the decisions, the DOC will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from importers based on these final rates.  In 2016, imports of biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia were valued at an estimated $1.2 billion and $268 million, respectively.  The petitioner is the National Biodiesel Fair Trade Coalition, which is composed of the National Biodiesel Board and 15 domestic producers of biodiesel.

Biodiesel worse for the environment than fossil fuels, warn green campaigners.  Instead of reducing them, using biodiesel in transport will increase polluting emissions by 4%, the same as putting an extra 12 million cars on the road in 2020, green campaigners have said.  Biodiesel is touted as one way to decarbonise the EU's transport sector.  But, according to NGO Transport and Environment (T&E), using it is actually worse for the environment than traditional fossil fuels.

Man gets 20 years for 'huge' biofuels scam.  Joseph Furando also will have to pay restitution of $56 million and give up a million-dollar home, a Ferrari, artwork and two biodiesel-powered motorcycles under the sentence imposed Thursday [1/7/2016] by U.S. District Judge Sarah Evans Barker in Indiana's Southern District.  According to the Department of Justice, from 2007 through 2012, Furando and Tracy Pattison, a 27-year-old Ridgewood resident, worked with a company called E-Biofuels to falsely label their products as high market, pure biodiesel, according to authorities.

USDA Sec. Tom Vilsack announces $91 million in support for biomass plant.  Tom Vilsack, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, announced a $91 million loan guarantee from the federal government to help build a biomass fuel plant in Louisiana.  Vilsack traveled to Baton Rouge on Friday [10/3/2014] to make the announcement.  He said the plant could have a "profound impact" on agriculture in America.

A World Turning Against Biofuels.  The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has suddenly reversed its support for biofuels.  The panel now admits growing crops for fuel "poses risks to ecosystems and biodiversity."

Five Things You Can Do About Climate Change.  [#4] Reduce Emissions In Transit:  The key thing here is to avoid electric cars. [...] Avoid also using bio-fuels, one of the most environmentally damaging forms of energy available.  In Asia and Africa, the demand in the West for mandated bio-fuels has led to the replacement of rainforest with plantations of industrial palm oil; it has also driven up food prices by diverting agricultural land for food production, thus harming the world's poor who are especially vulnerable to starvation.

Navy Captain Guns Down Biofuels.  [Scroll down]  Now comes one of the Navy's best and brightest, Captain T.A. Ike Keifer.  In March, Keifer, an aviator who has been deployed seven times and spent 21 months in Iraq, published a scathing indictment of the biofuels sector in Strategic Studies Quarterly, the U.S. Air Force's most-prestigious journal.

EPA's fuel folly.  [Scroll down]  In 2010, the first year of the mandate, EPA projected that 5 million gallons of cellulosic biofuels would be available.  In fact, there were none.  In 2011, EPA increased the mandate to 6.5 million gallons.  Again, the actual amount available was zero.  Undeterred, in 2012, EPA increased the required amount to 8.5 million gallons.  The actual available amount was 25,000 gallons.  Since it is impossible to comply with the mandate to use this phantom fuel, EPA is effectively taxing the industry.  This tax is passed to consumers in the form of higher gas prices.  EPA's overestimates are part of an intentional strategy.

Another Made Up Mandate on Energy that Doesn't Exist.  The dream to "achieve" is cellulosic biofuel or ethanol — which has an admirable goal of producing a renewable transportation fuel without impacting the world's food supply.  Different from corn- or sugar-based ethanol — which is technologically achievable (with questionable benefits) — cellulosic ethanol is made from wood chips, switchgrass, and agricultural waste, such as corn cobs.  The problem is the dream doesn't match reality.

Judge rules EPA can't mandate use of nonexistent biofuels.  The court sided with the country's chief oil and gas lobby, the American Petroleum Institute, in striking down the 2012 EPA mandate that would have forced refineries to purchase more than $8 million in credits for 8.65 million of gallons of the cellulosic biofuel.  However, none of the biofuel is commercially available.

Biofuels benefit billionaires.  Biofuels will serve the interests of large industrial groups rather than helping to cut carbon emissions and ward off climate change, according to research to be published in the International Journal of Environment and Health this month.

U.S. Navy Sails the Ocean Green.  On Friday June 29 a U.S. Navy carrier strike group set sail from Puget Sound to participate in "Rim of the Pacific" maneuvers.  More than 20 nations are involved in the six-week maneuvers, which featured a key difference for the American fleet.  The carriers had filled up on biofuel at a cost of nearly $27 a gallon, more than seven times as high as the usual $3.60 a gallon of conventional fuel.  The massive cost increase is the result of President Obama linking the national security of the United States to his own environmental agenda.

The Navy offers a rebuttal:
Navy: We'll Never, Ever Overpay for Biofuels.  Last week, [Wired magazine's] Danger Room published a critical look at the Navy's efforts to launch a renewable-powered "Great Green Fleet" — and kickstart the market for biofuels in the process.  Not surprisingly, the Navy's leadership had all sorts of objections to the piece.  But they took particular exception to the section about the price of the biofuel.  A Pentagon-sponsored study says that the Navy could spend as much as $1.76 billion annually for all the biofuel they've promised to use by 2020.  In this exclusive op-ed, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy Tom Hicks says the Navy will never pay that kind of premium.

Greens Bicker as EPA Frowns on Palm Oil Fuel.  Environmental activists are in disarray over a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency decision that transportation fuel made from palm oil does not produce sufficient environmental benefit to qualify as a renewable fuel under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act.

Fraud Case Shows Holes in Exchange of Fuel Credits.  Gary L. Miller knew something was afoot in the garage rented out behind his auto equipment business.  Through an open door, Mr. Miller glimpsed piles of pipes, polyethylene tanks and pumps.  But nothing was hooked up.  Nothing was being made.  So it came as a surprise — to say the least — when he learned that the tenant, Rodney R. Hailey, had told a federal agency that he would produce millions of gallons of biodiesel fuel there.

Getting burned by biofuels.  The Energy Policy Act of 2005 mandated that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implement a Renewable Fuel Standard forcing fuel refiners to dilute their petroleum products with vegetable oil, corn, algae and animal fat so companies that label themselves "green" would reap a financial windfall. [...] As this is an entirely artificial market that serves no purpose other than to make politicians and their political donors happy, it's rife with fraud.

Derided as fraud, Baldwin alternative energy company draws interest from Canadian investor.  A trial in Mobile's federal court in 2009 appeared to expose a Baldwin County company's alternative energy operation as a fraud, but that has not stopped investors' interest in the Bay Minette-area plant.  A bankruptcy plan approved by a judge this month hinges on a Canadian company's ability to borrow millions of dollars to buy the plant built by Cello Energy.  If successful, most Cello creditors would get paid.  If not, the judge could dismiss the bankruptcies of the company and the estate of Cello's founder, the late Jack W. Boykin.

Green Obama's latest: airport biofields.  John Deere combines will be landing at the nation's 15,079 airports soon if President Obama and his green energy team get their way.  Seemingly dead set against drilling for more fossil fuels, the administration is eyeing an unusual idea of turning airports into biofuel producers, planting grasses that can be brewed into ethanol.  But there's a hitch:  they first have to figure out which grasses won't attract deer and birds that could get in the way of fast-moving aircraft.

The Editor says...
Once again, the tree-hugging earth-worshiping big-government environmentalists apparently haven't considered the potential unintended consequences:  Grass doesn't attract birds, but bugs do.  Suppose the birds show up to feast on the bugs, an airplane makes a noisy takeoff, the birds take flight right into the engines, and the plane crashes.  Then what have you gained?  America has no shortage of wide-open spaces (on government property or elsewhere) on which to perform such experiments.  Only a fool would think that an airport is a good place to grow crops.

McCain sees another Solyndra in Navy biofuels spending.  The Navy's push to develop biofuels to run its fleet of planes and warships could devolve into a "Solyndra situation" for the Pentagon, a top Republican senator said today [3/15/2012].  During Tuesday's [3/13/2012] hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee, ranking member John McCain (R-Ariz.) compared the now-bankrupt solar energy company, into which the White House sank $535 million in loan guarantees, to Navy-led efforts in alternative energy.

Sapphire in the Rough:
$100M in federal money; 36 jobs created.  The federal government awarded Sapphire Energy, a green energy concern, more than $100 million for a project that is behind schedule, has only created a fraction of its expected jobs, and is, according to some experts, at least a decade away from creating a viable product.  Founded in 2007, Sapphire is working to develop algal biofuel — a replacement to crude oil made from algae and able to be refined into gasoline, diesel, or jet fuel.

Draft EPA report:  Biofuels threaten habitat, water quality.  A draft Environmental Protection Agency report concludes that expanded production of renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel carries an array of ecological risks in the U.S. and other nations, and calls for improved policies to mitigate these harms.  The report is required under a 2007 energy law that vastly increased the national biofuels mandate but also called for new analysis of the ecological effects of expanded development.

The Biofuels Scam.  Since 2007 the price of food around the world has just about doubled.  Bad harvests, inflation, or George Bush didn't cause this price increase.  According to a secret report from the World Bank, reported in the UK's Guardian, 75% of the increase in price has one source:  "Biofuels."  This contrasts with US claims of only a 3% biofuels-caused increase.  The World Bank also says that rising food prices have pushed 100 million people worldwide below the poverty line.  Riots have been sparked from Bangladesh to Egypt.  Where is the outrage?  Where are the MSNBC stories on food riots?

It Doesn't Take a Rocket Scientist….  [Here]'s what has been happening in the fuel tanks of trucks across Minnesota because of the biodiesel mandate that was put into effect last year.  Over 60% of the diesel trucks in the state have had their fuel tanks and fuel filters gummed up by the soybean oil that the government forced into the fuel tanks.

Biodiesel is now slightly cheaper than regular diesel.  While soaring fuel costs are the bane of most businesses, Oregon makers of biodiesel are celebrating.  Their product now is cheaper than the stuff that comes out of the ground.

Orang-utans home destroyed for bio-diesel.  The Orang-utans of Borneo are facing an unprecedented threat as their habitat is destroyed to satisfy increasing global demands for bio-fuel.  As jungles are rapidly replaced by palm oil plantations, the great apes starve and are hunted, mutilated, burnt and snared by workers protecting their crops.  At a rehabilitation centre run by the charity Borneo Orang-utan Survival, there are more than 600, mostly orphaned babies.

Green Tech Defined:  Remember the local news headline where the science teacher converted his '82 Volvo wagon to run on the grease from McDonald's?  The press, fellow teachers, and students swooned at how green-conscious and forward-looking the teacher was.  Not surprisingly, no student asked if there were enough burger joints to power a lot of cars and, if there were, whether or not the infrastructure (e.g., gas stations) to distribute French Fry Fuel exists.  [This is an example of] technology that seems visionary but whose "Green" value is illusory because the real environmental or financial costs are concealed, or the widespread adoption of the technology is impossible, or because it is financially unavailable to most Americans.

Biofuel:  Bad for the Environment?  Two new studies released Thursday [4/10/2008] call into question the global movement toward biofuel.  According to these researchers, production of biofuel actually contributes to global warming, doing more harm than good.

Biofuels may harm more than help.  Biofuels, championed for reducing energy reliance, boosting farm revenues and helping fight climate change, may in fact hurt the environment and push up food prices, a study suggested on Tuesday [9/11/2007].  In a report on the impact of biofuels, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said biofuels may "offer a cure that is worse than the disease they seek to heal".

A New 'Green' Body Count Begins.  Biofuels have turned out to be a lose-lose-lose proposition.  Once touted by the greens and the biofuel industry as being able to reduce the demand for oil and lower greenhouse gas emissions, biofuels have accomplished neither goal and have no prospect for accomplishing either in the foreseeable future.

Chinese Demand Sends Christmas Tree Prices Soaring.  Demand for Christmas trees is rising due to increasing exports and the growing number of single-person households.  Meanwhile the supply of trees has decreased because several thousand hectares of tree plantations in Germany have been given over to more profitable uses, such as lucrative biofuel crops.

Pollution Is Called a Byproduct of a 'Clean' Fuel.  After residents of the Riverbend Farms subdivision noticed that an oily, fetid substance had begun fouling the Black Warrior River, which runs through their backyards, Mark Storey, a retired petroleum plant worker, hopped into his boat to follow it upstream to its source.  It turned out to be an old chemical factory that had been converted into Alabama's first biodiesel plant, a refinery that intended to turn soybean oil into earth-friendly fuel.

D1 Oils says US subsidies have forced it to shut UK refineries.  The enormous damage being done by "splash-and-dash" imports of American biodiesel was highlighted yesterday when one of the UK's leading operators, D1 Oils, said it was closing down all its refining operations in Britain after running up a £46m annual loss.

Biofuels under fire at International Energy Forum.  Biofuels, once seen as a key factor in curbing greenhouse gas emissions, are behind the current global food crisis, major oil producers and consumers charged at an energy forum here on Monday [4/21/2008].

Rush to biofuels leaves a world of emptier plates.  In early 2007, two University of Minnesota economists forecast that biofuels would sharply increase food prices by 2020, leading to a steep rise in the number of empty bellies in the world.  How wrong they were.  Soaring rates of hunger didn't take a generation.  It took a year.

Gore Ducks, as a Backlash Builds Against Biofuel.  In an interview last year, Mr. Gore expressed his support for corn-based ethanol, but endorsed moving to what he called a "third generation" of so-called cellulosic ethanol production, which is still in laboratory research.  "It doesn't compete with food crops, so it doesn't put pressure on food prices," the former vice president told Popular Mechanics magazine.

Feeling blue over trying to be green:  Two papers, in the journal Science, rocked the biofuels world by claiming that plant-based fuels cause more greenhouse-gas emissions than dirty, evil old oil.  The reason is that it takes land to grow fuel.  That inevitably leads to the destruction of forests and grasslands, the studies say.

Repeal the MN Biodiesel Mandate — Do It for the (Frostbitten) Children!!.  All schools in the Bloomington School District will be closed today after state-required biodiesel fuel clogged in school buses Thursday morning and left dozens of students stranded in frigid weather, the district said late Thursday.  Rick Kaufman, the district's spokesman, said elements in the biodiesel fuel that turn into a gel-like substance at temperatures below 10 degrees clogged about a dozen district buses Thursday morning.

Montana Biodiesel Producer Owes Farmers $1.2M For Last Year's Crop.  A Montana biodiesel company, which has received more than $1.6 million in grants and loans from the state and a regional economic development corporation, owes farmers in Montana and North Dakota $1.2 million for crops grown last year.

How Government Botches Biofuels.  Biofuels were originally conceived as the fuel of choice for automobiles when the internal combustion engine was first developed.  Biofuels later re-emerged as a possible alternative to petroleum for our liquid fuel needs.  Proponents touted biofuels as carbon neutral, and possible to generate not only from crops like corn and sugar cane, but also from agricultural or industrial waste like wood chips and bagasse, leftover material from sugar-cane production in southern Gulf states like Louisiana.

Medvedev slams biofuel producers at grain summit.  Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has urged countries to switch to non-food sources of biofuel to prevent the spread of hunger in a world where every sixth person is malnourished.  "We are advocating production of biofuel from other, non-food sources," Mr Medvedev said in a speech inaugurating the launch of a global grain summit in his native Saint Petersburg.

When scientific fraud kills millions.  Scientific fraud often ends up killing people. ... The medical truth about the AIDS epidemic, that it was communicated by anal intercourse, especially among men, was suppressed for decades, causing thousands of more young men to die.  And now it seems that the global warming fraud, just one aspect of broader EcoFraud, is killing people in the Third World.  The proximate cause?  A doubling of food prices.  Why?  Because of the diversion of food crops to biofuels.

Hidden EU Analysis:  Biofuels Can Produce More CO2 Emissions Than Fossil Fuels.  Reuters reports that it used freedom of information laws to obtain a copy of text that was stripped from a December 2009 European Union study on biofuels.  The hidden portion of the study found that biodiesel fuel made from North American soybeans has an indirect carbon footprint of 339.9 kilograms of CO2 per gigajoule — about four times larger than standard diesel from petroleum.

Millions unaccounted for in biodiesel fraud case.  A federal prosecutor said Thursday that the government has recovered only a third of the $9 million that authorities charge a Perry Hall businessman with taking from his customers in a massive biofuel fraud scheme.  The businessman, Rodney R. Hailey, president of the now-shuttered Clean Green Fuel, appeared in U.S. District Court for what had been scheduled as an arraignment.  But Hailey surprised prosecutors by not going through with a guilty plea that they said he had agreed to before the proceeding.

Biofuel fraud case puts industry under scrutiny.  On its website, Clean Green Fuel offered customers "a unique blend of biodiesel" made from vegetable oil that would produce less air pollution and help reduce the nation's dependence on petroleum.  But according to federal charging documents, company owner Rodney R. Hailey didn't produce any biodiesel.  Instead, prosecutors charge, he generated and sold more than $9 million worth of credits for nonexistent renewable fuel, using the proceeds to buy a five-bedroom house in Perry Hall, diamond jewelry and more than two dozen cars and trucks, including a Rolls Royce, a pair of Bentleys and a Lamborghini.

Opposing viewpoint regarding biodiesel:
Olive Biodiesel Biofuel Bioenergy.  Olive Trees live 200-400 years, sometimes more; the oldest olive tree on Earth is nearly 5000 years old.  The oil can be catalyzed cold or processed hot into Bio-Diesel.  The remaining pulp can be fermented into ethyl alcohol.  The wood chips of the pruned limbs can be turned into methanol.

More information filed under Ethanol is not such a great idea.

Fluoride in the Public Water Supply:

Fluoride in drinking water may trigger depression and weight gain, warn scientists.  Fluoride could be causing depression and weight gain and councils should stop adding it to drinking water to prevent tooth decay, scientists have warned.  A study of 98 percent of GP practices in England found that high rates of underactive thyroid were 30 per cent more likely in areas of the greatest fluoridation.  It could mean that up to 15,000 people are suffering needlessly from thyroid problems which can cause depression, weight gain, fatigue and aching muscles.

Tooth and Nail: Fluoride Fight Cracks Portland's Left.  In the 1950s, after health authorities began fluoridating U.S. water supplies, they faced opposition from groups like the John Birch Society, which called it "an unconstitutional mass medication of the public." [...] The debate has prompted something of an existential crisis in this self-consciously liberal city, which votes Tuesday on whether to overturn the city council's 2012 decision to fluoridate.  Citizens who pride themselves on tolerance are divided on the appropriately progressive response to fluoridated water:  Is it an intrusion into personal liberty, or a compassionate public health measure?

Pinellas County Removes Fluoride from Tap Water.  Pinellas County, Florida county commissioners voted 4-3 to stop fluoridating tap water for some of the county's residents.  The decision is expected to save the county approximately $205 million per year, but it has angered health advocates who claim the lack of fluoridation will harm dental health and cost county residents far more in higher dental bills.

Fluoride:  Friend or Foe?  Fluoride is a known toxin, slightly less toxic than arsenic and more poisonous than lead.  The industrial chemicals used to fluoridate over 90 percent of fluoridated water in the United States, (fluorosilicate acid and sodium silicofluoride), are by-products of the phosphate fertilizer industry and have never been tested for safety or effectiveness.

The Fluoride Deception.  In a society where asbestos, lead, silica, beryllium and many other carcinogens have found their way into the marketplace and then been recalled, one has to wonder why fluoride, so toxic it is used as a rat poison and pesticide, is embraced so thoroughly and so blindly.

Citizens uniting against fluoride.  A group of private citizens in San Diego County is planning to file a large-scale lawsuit in federal court against public water districts and challenge the constitutionality of using industrial-grade hydrofluosilicic acid to fluoridate drinking water.

Fluoride:  Miracle drug or toxic-waste killer?  While few would argue that topical application of minute amounts of fluoride on teeth would reduce cavities, deliberately ingesting it — even in trace amounts — is risky.  The fluoride added to public drinking water is actually fluorosilic acid.  It is described by critics as an industrial waste product.  Supporters prefer to call it an industry byproduct.  Most of it has come from Florida's phosphate fertilizer industry.

Fluoridation:  Mind Control of the Masses.  "At the end of the Second World War, the United States Government sent Charles Eliot Perkins, a research worker in chemistry, biochemistry, physiology and pathology, to take charge of the vast Farben chemical plants in Germany.  "While there he was told by the German chemists of a scheme which had been worked out by them during the war and adopted by the German General Staff.  "This was to control the population in any given area through mass medication of drinking water.  In this scheme, sodium fluoride occupied a prominent place.  "Repeated doses of infinitesimal amounts of fluoride will in time reduce an individual's power to resist domination by slowly poisoning and narcotising a certain area of the brain and will thus make him submissive to the will of those who wish to govern him.  "Both the Germans and the Russians added sodium fluoride to the drinking water of prisoners of war to make them stupid and docile."

Why I Changed My Mind About Water Fluoridation:  Large-scale surveys from United States, from Missouri and Arizona, have since revealed the same picture:  no real benefit to teeth from fluoride in drinking water.  For example, Professor Steelink in Tucson, AZ, ... found:  "When we plotted the incidence of tooth decay versus fluoride content in a child's neighborhood drinking water, a positive correlation was revealed.  In other words, the more fluoride a child drank, the more cavities appeared in the teeth".  From other lands — Australia, Britain, Canada, Sri Lanka, Greece, Malta, Spain, Hungary, and India — a similar situation has been revealed:  either little or no relation between water fluoride and tooth decay, or a positive one (more fluoride, more decay).

Organic food:

Pareto Speaks to Us About Environmentalism.  The emotional core of the belief [in global warming] is fear of modern technology.  Global warming is only the latest of a string of, doomsday scenarios, justified by dubious scientific claims, dating back as far as the 1940's. [...] These scares have in common the theme that modern technology is backfiring.  The scares play to and promote this emotional belief.  To many people, technology is an object of suspicion and fear.  There is romantic nostalgia for an idealized simpler time in the past.  For example, the organic food movement basically advocates growing food by restricting technology to that used prior to about 1930.  This is based on the idea that pesticides and synthetic fertilizer is harmful, a belief that is scientifically not supportable.  Plants don't care whether they get nitrogen from synthetic fertilizer or chicken manure.  Pesticides used to kill insects are not passed into the food product except in microscopic, harmless quantities.  The advocates of organic farming don't mention that half the world population would starve if their less productive farming schemes were universally adopted.

The organic industry is built upon a gigantic lie.  The majority of American believe that organic foods are healthier than food grown using conventional methods.  Two systematic reviews turned up no evidence that organic foods are more nutritious or lead to better health-related outcomes for consumers.  A landmark study published in 2012 in the Annals of Internal Medicine by researchers at Stanford University's Center for Health Policy aggregated and analyzed data from 237 studies to determine whether organic foods are safer or healthier than non-organic foods.  They concluded that fruits and vegetables that met the criteria for 'organic' were on average no more nutritious than their far cheaper conventional counterparts, nor were those foods less likely to be contaminated by pathogenic bacteria.  A report on how the US Department of Agriculture actually markets the organic label without any standard of certification doesn't do any field testing and, through its bureaucracy grew exponentially during the Obama administration, is driving up imports from China, Turkey, and other countries with disastrous safety records.

Video: Prager U ask whether it is worth paying more for organic food.  Is organic food worth the extra cost to shoppers?  If it were healthier for humans, animals, and the environment, maybe it would be.  But study after study shows that organic food is no better than conventional food, and may even be worse for the environment.

War On Science:  Gluten-Free Madness Needs to End.  Trump appointees to head the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency to the contrary, the war on science isn't limited to conservatives.  Liberals have their own anti-science biases.  Where conservatives often reject science based on their literal interpretation of the Bible or due to an abhorrence of federal regulations, liberals appear to be motivated by a belief that all things natural are good, anything with a chemical name is bad, and everything that profits an industry is really bad (unless that industry makes dietary supplements).

Fighting Junk Science.  Some junk science lacks scientific support but catches the public imagination and is used by special interests to make money.  An example is organic food.  Organic food is food grown by methods popular prior to 1930.  The theory is that the old ways were somehow more pure and noble than modern methods.  This is only carried so far.  The shoppers at Whole Foods aren't wearing homespun clothes.  The government has generated regulations defining organic food and thus has bestowed legitimacy on a fad with little scientific basis.

The Colossal Hoax Of Organic Agriculture.  Consumers of organic foods are getting both more and less than they bargained for.  On both counts, it's not good.  Many people who pay the huge premium — often more than a hundred percent — for organic foods do so because they're afraid of pesticides.  If that's their rationale, they misunderstand the nuances of organic agriculture.  Although it's true that synthetic chemical pesticides are generally prohibited, there is a lengthy list of exceptions listed in the Organic Foods Production Act, while most "natural" ones are permitted.  However, "organic" pesticides can be toxic.

Has Whole Foods Finally Figured Out That Organic Foods Are Jaded And Overrated?  Whole Foods has introduced a rating system for produce and flowers, "Responsibly Grown," which is based on a number of factors.  It has enraged organic farmers, who think that the designation "organic" automatically entitles them to superior ratings.  They're wrong.

If Your BS Detector Isn't Shrieking, It's Broken.  We now inhabit a world where virtually everything is a con.  That "organic" produce from some other country — did anyone test the soil the produce grew in?  It could be loaded with heavy metals and be certified "organic" because no pesticides were used during production.  But what about last year?  And the year before?  What's in the water used to irrigate the crops?

Whole Foods: America's Temple of Pseudoscience.  Americans get riled up about creationists and climate change deniers, but lap up the quasi-religious snake oil at Whole Foods.  It's all pseudoscience — so why are some kinds of pseudoscience more equal than others?

Organic Shmorganic.  When my son was a baby, organic was a synonym for edible. [...] Fast-forward two years and my son is eating Shoprite strawberries for breakfast.  I support the principles of organic farming, for sure, but it can be hard to consistently pay $7 for a pint of something he'll go through in two days.  Plus, I can't help but wonder whether giving my son organic food really makes a difference to his health, considering that he's been known to lick the bottom of his shoes, kiss my poop-sniffing dog, and eat crackers — someone else's — off of the preschool floor.

The myth that organically grown foods are better for you and the environment.  Repeated, sound testing has shown that there is no substantial difference between organically grown food and conventionally grown food.  While it is always more expensive, organically grown food is not safer or healthier.  It is more expensive — often twice as expensive as conventionally grown food.  To those who see something moral in this earlier form of agriculture, it is worth noting that it requires more land — that is, [it] takes it away from other uses like housing and forest land for wildlife — it uses more labor and it takes more conventional energy if grown on smaller plots of land than does conventionally grown food grown on large plots.  There are, moreover, hidden health dangers in organically grown food.

Pediatricians raise doubts about the benefits of organic foods.  While organic fruits, vegetables and meats do offer less exposure to potentially harmful pesticides and drug-resistant bacteria, the American Academy of Pediatrics found no evidence that proves those foods are safer to eat than conventional offerings.

Organic Illusions.  A recent study by a group of scientists at Stanford University found that the nutritional benefits of organic food have, to say the least, been oversold.

The Whole Foods Hustle.  There is no discernible nutritional difference between food from the farmer's market and food from the supermarket, scientists report.  But there is a dramatic price variation, and that status separation was the point all along.  People don't pay for better-for-you.  They pay for better-than-you.

E.Coli in Organic Food Leads to 50 Dead in Germany.  As everyone knows, Mother Nature not only knows best but means us no harm:  and therefore, the less we mess around with her and her products, the better.  Although many people may have remarked, more in sorrow than in anger, how small and shriveled organic vegetables often appear by comparison with those that have been treated with chemicals, it is obvious that they (the organic ones) must be better for us because they are nearer to what Mother Nature intended.  This item of faith took something of a knock recently with the outbreak of Shiga-toxin-producing E. coli food poisoning in Germany.  It was no small matter:  more than 4000 people suffered from it and more than 50 died.

Down On The Farm.  Aren't organic fruits and vegetables superior to conventionally grown food?  Shouldn't consumers always choose organic when given a choice?  Not necessarily, says a Scientific American blogger.

Irradiate the Manure in 'Organic' Farming.  Where are the mass protests by "Greens" in Germany over the proven deadly "organic farming" industry?  The answer, of course, is that Organic Farming — which relies upon animal fecal-matter as natural fertilizer — is a politically-correct enterprise akin to environmentalism and therefore ipso-facto above reproach by liberals and the mainstream press.  But facts are facts, and the present practice of organic farming — wherein deadly-germs present in untreated manure can contaminate the food produce — is proven to be massively deleterious to human health.

Food Is Much Safer Than You Think.  It appears increasingly clear that the E. coli outbreak, which as of June 12 has killed 35 people and made another 3,250 or so extremely sick, originated with bean sprouts grown on an organic farm in the north of Germany.  There has been a huge amount written about the outbreak, particularly about the government's feckless response.  And yet — curiously — I haven't heard any of the critics calling for draconian regulations on organics, much less for the dismantling of this still small, and thus readily terminable, component of the food industry.

The Organic Food Scam.  Once, years ago, I was in a Midwestern State talking with a farmer.  I raised the question of how much pesticide he used on his crop to ward off or kill insect predators or, in the case of weeds, how much herbicide.  "Look, my family and I eat a part of what I grow," he said.  "Do you think I am going to put anything on the crop that would endanger them?"  Good answer.

Nature's Toxic Tools:  The Organic Myth of Pesticide-Free Farming.  It is important to address the common misperception that organic farming is "pesticide-free."  Organic farmers are allowed to use a number of toxic chemical pesticides, and many organic crops are routinely sprayed with pesticides. [PDF]

Organic farming 'no better for the environment'.  Organic food may be no better for the environment than conventional produce and in some cases is contributing more to global warming than intensive agriculture, according to a government report.  The first comprehensive study of the environmental impact of food production found there was "insufficient evidence" to say organic produce has fewer ecological side-effects than other farming methods.

Poison bug 'more likely to be found in organic chickens'.  Organic chickens sold by leading supermarkets have been labelled a health threat by a damning investigation.  Researchers claim they are more likely to carry the deadly food poisoning bug campylobacter than factory farmed chicken.  As many as nine in ten of the organic chickens showed up positive for the bug.

Reasons you should buy regular goods:  Companies marketing organic products, and your local grocery chain, want you to think organic food is safer and healthier, because their profit margins are vastly higher on organic foods.  The USDA Organic label does not mean that there is any difference between organic and regular food products.  Organic farms simply employ different methods of food production.

Activism Disguised As Science.  A new study published in an alternative agriculture journal has gained widespread attention by claiming that organic farming not only could adequately feed the world, it might even yield more food and require less farmland.  It is a truly sensational claim.  In science, the more sensational the claim, the more robust the evidence needed to support it.  This time, the evidence doesn't stack up.

The Problem With Organic Food:  Organic food has garnered an extraordinary amount of attention from the media and, along with "local" food, is a darling of foodies and environmentalists, who talk up its civic virtues and benefits to the environment.  There's just one problem with this:  agriculture has moved away from small-scale, local, and organic farming because these types of farms are land- and labor-intensive and don't do a very good job of feeding lots of people.  In addition, they are not definitively better for the environment, and their growth would lead to higher food prices than most Americans are willing to pay.

Organic Failure.  Henry Waxman is at it again.  The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade-climate change bill, which has been called the largest tax bill in history because it would levy a national tax on energy use, narrowly passed the House in late June and is still pending in the Senate, but the California Democrat has already moved on to his next bad idea:  trying to save the nation's populace by making farmlands sterile, so that only organic foods can be grown.

Worse than global warming.  Go on, eat organic food if you like, spend more than you would on ordinary food and dream that it somehow makes you healthier than you would be and the world more ecologically sound, but find time to pray that not too many others emulate you.  It would be an incredible catastrophe if everyone went organic. ... Growing organic food is supposedly kinder to land than growing food by ordinary means, but it consumes enormously more land per unit produced.  One reported estimate is that no forests would be left if you tried to supply total human food needs this way, and that, even then, many would starve.

Organic food is just a tax on the gullible.  A few years ago my wife decided we should have an entirely organic vegetable garden. To this end she refused all man-made fertilisers and ordered a truckload of pigeon droppings. What could be more natural?  Neither was there anything unnatural in the germs I inhaled through the spores of our organic manure, thereby contracting psittacosis.  This developed into "atypical" pneumonia, which was of course resistant to all standard antibiotics.  Had a hospital doctor not guessed the cause and put me on a drip with the appropriate drugs — ooh, chemicals! — I could have become a fatal casualty of the organic movement.  Obviously my wife might have ordered cow manure rather than pigeon poo; then I could have been felled by E coli instead.

Wheat, Yes, Wheat!  Dr. David Bragg, Ph.D., an extension entomologist, recently enumerated the insect pests that can be depended upon to attack wheat.  They include the Russian Wheat Aphid, the Ladybird Beetle, the English Grain Aphid and Rosy Grass Aphid.  Then there's the Haanchen Barley Mealybug and Wireworm Beetle Larvae, as well as the False Wireworm, the Cereal Leaf Beetle, Cutworms and Armyworms.  By no means should we leave out the Wheat Stem Maggot, the Wheat Stem Saw Fly, and the Wheat Joint Worm.  I want you to think about this army of insect predators the next time some environmental group is demanding that all pesticides be banned and that all grains and vegetables be grown "organically."

Benefits of organic food a 'myth'.  In a result that will provoke dismay and anger in the organics industry, the study's authors found that food grown without pesticides or herbicides should not be promoted as healthier because there was no evidence to show that it contained more nutrients than normal food.


The Editor says...
Recycling will stop as soon as it is a money-losing activity.  Curbside recycling will become more and more selective over the next few years:  Your city will gladly recycle your aluminum cans and newspapers, but they don't want glass, pizza boxes, or old computers.

The Recycling Police Are Here, and They're Not Happy With You.  It's well established that the recycling system in America is utterly broken.  National Geographic reports that something like 91 percent of recycled plastic ends up in a landfill.  Environmentalists know this.  And now, they have pinpointed the problem:  you.  Yes, you're the one who tossed your yogurt container into the recycling bin.  You're the one who included your styrofoam coffee cup along with your old newspapers.  You're the one who attempted to recycle a slightly dirty paper plate, plastic utensils, sticky notes, straws, and wet paper towels (all no-go's that spoil everything).  Leftists have come up with a solution.  Recycling police officers will come to your property, look into your recycling bin, examine the contents, and place orange or red warning tags on your bin — alerting your neighbors that you are a bad citizen who is directly causing the temperature of Earth to crank up a degree or two.

The Editor says...
The curbside recycling program where I live is very picky.  They don't want plastic bags from Wal-Mart, cardboard pizza boxes, or junk mail.  But they'll gladly accept aluminum cans, bare copper wire, silver, gold, and platinum.  I've heard that nearly everything else ends up in the same landfill as the garbage.  But I'm doing my part, so talk to the city, talk to the contractor, but don't look at me!

Righteous Recycling.  Why should leftists bother to make recycling work when their real objective is reached merely by appearing to practice it?  Recycling is a leftist sacrament.  It fulfills emotional needs for Democrats.  They suffer deep-seated guilt from participating in a materialistic culture that they think results in widespread environmental harm.  For them recycling serves as a kind of visible penance.  Unfortunately, recycling leads to unintended consequences.

The smart way for post-coronavirus pandemic NYC to save money:  Stop recycling.  The financial pressure of the coronavirus pandemic has led Mayor de Blasio to do what he's never done before: propose reductions in New York City's sprawling $93 billion budget.  A good place to start would be the city's recycling collection program.  That may seem like eco-sacrilege but in extraordinary times nothing should be sacrosanct.  For recycling, the numbers don't add up.  By sending recyclables to safe landfills — and avoiding the cost of separate collection — the city could save nearly $200 million.  At a time when COVID-19 puts frontline workers, including the city's 7,000 uniformed Sanitation workers (New York's fabled "Strongest"), at risk and may make staffing more difficult, simplifying garbage collection makes sense — and would save taxpayer dollars.

Good Riddance to Recycling Trucks.  Good news seems to be in short supply during the COVID-19 pandemic.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that April 8 was the final local recycling pickup for a while.  As surprising as it may seem, I think this is actually a (small) step toward a (slightly) healthier society, a (slightly) more robust economy, and (surprisingly) a cleaner environment.  Holding everything else constant, I expect a slight improvement in public health with the suspension of curbside recycling for several reasons.  First, there are the emissions associated with curbside recycling.  Fewer recycling trucks on the roads mean fewer emissions from those trucks and smoother traffic — though of course this might be canceled out if enough people drive their recyclables to recycling locations.  Second, recyclables themselves are disease vectors.

Stop the Virus Now, Save the Planet Later.  Consumers face some risk when they gather their items for curbside bins or take them to drop-off sites, but the biggest danger is to the workers who haul the stuff away or sort it by hand as it moves along conveyor belts at processing facilities.  The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has warned that the virus poses a "serious and unique risk" to its members in the recycling industry, which already had some of the highest rates of injuries and illness among all sectors.  The recycling trade press has been steadily chronicling its new woes.  Dalton, Georgia, one of many towns to suspend its curbside collections, explained that "recycling pickup requires sorting by hand and there are many unknowns about how the virus spreads from surface to surface." [...] Yes, recycling does make people feel like they're helping the planet, but at what cost?  Given the minimal environmental benefits — as well as some environmental harms — from recycling, couldn't local governments find more productive uses for their money?

The Perverse Panic over Plastic.  The recycling movement had a superficial logic, at least at the outset.  Municipal officials expected to save money by recycling trash instead of burying or burning it.  Now that recycling has turned out to be ruinously expensive while achieving little or no environmental benefit, some local officials — the pragmatic ones, anyway — are once again sending trash straight to landfills and incinerators.  The plastic panic has never made any sense, and it's intensifying even as evidence mounts that it's not only a waste of money but also harmful to the environment, not to mention humans.  It's been a movement in search of a rationale for half a century.

Baltimore County Admits It Hasn't Been Recycling Glass for 7 Years.  It Still Encourages Residents to Recycle Glass.  Baltimore County residents' have had their perceptions about where their glass ends up shattered.  Over the weekend, news broke that the county — which does not include the City of Baltimore — has not been recycling the glass it's been collecting as part of its recycling program.  For the past seven years, the jars and bottles that residents dutifully placed in their blue bins have been being junked instead.  "There are numerous issues with glass recycling, including increased presence of shredded paper in recycling streams which contaminates materials and is difficult to separate from broken glass fragments, in addition to other limitations on providing quality material," county spokesperson Sean Naron told The Baltimore Sun.

Vermont rolls out mandatory composting.  Food scraps can't go in Vermont landfills beginning July 1.  Residents will have four ways to handle rotten leftovers and items such as peels, eggshells, seeds, pits, coffee grounds and oils, according to the state's environmental conservation department.  Vermonters can use a household compost bin, buy a Green Cone solar digester to break down the scraps, feed scraps to pigs or leave it to the composting professionals.  The universal recycling law will require trucking companies to provide food scrap collection services to nonresidential customers and multi-unit apartment complexes, the Burlington Free Press reported.  Restaurants, supermarkets and cafeterias must also comply with the law, which is the first state law of its kind.  The state hopes to reach a 60% recycling rate through mandatory composting.

24 Things Wrong With Electric Cars Millennials Choose To Ignore.  [#22] Battery recycling:  As it stands today, the electric car industry is expected to boom by the year 2025.  And according to a report from Auto Evolution, 20 years after that, we will have a battery recycling issue from these cars.  After all, you can't expect a car to keep running on the same battery for too long.  Sure, both lithium-ion and Ni-Mh batteries can be recycled.  However, the market for these is currently not significant.  If there is no development in the coming years, it's likely that we will have used batteries just dumped wherever possible because nobody would be willing to go through the hassle of recycling them.

LA targets 'very dangerous dump' after trash pile grows to 22 million pounds.  The owners of a recycling center on the southern edge of Boyle Heights landed in hot water this week with City Attorney Mike Feuer, who accused the facility's operator of improperly storing a two-story-high trash heap that went up in flames in September.  Feuer filed criminal and civil complaints Wednesday against the owners and operators of Clean Up America, a facility at 2900 E. Lugo St., near the Vernon border, that alleges the facility had become a safety and health risk.  He said the "aggressive" action was necessary after multiple violations at the site went unresolved over the past two years.  "What should have been a recycling center became a very dangerous dump," Feuer said Thursday [10/10/2019] during a news conference at L.A. City Hall.

California's Minimum Wage Rules Kill State's Largest Recycling Center.  One might assume that an environmentally-minded firm such as a plastic recycler would enjoy doing business in deep-blue California.  That assumption is entirely wrong.

In China, Big Brother is watching you even as you sort your trash.  The Chinese state is taking surveillance to the next level.  Vast networks of cameras are not just aimed at reducing crime but also enforcing recycling laws, encouraging civic behaviour.  Privacy concerns aside, the tools are reshaping the relationship between government and citizen.

California's largest recycling business closes, 750 laid off.  California's largest operator of recycling redemption centers shut down Monday [8/5/2019] and laid off 750 employees.

Recycling: America's False Religion.  Before climate change became a belief system in which humans are expected to perform penance for their sins against Gaia, recycling was the religion of many in the modern world.  Those who didn't reduce, reuse, and recycle were, and still are, considered heretics.  Nearly a quarter century ago, John Tierney wrote in the New York Times Magazine that "Recycling Is Garbage."  In an article that produced the greatest volume of hate mail in the magazine's history, Tierney said that rather than recycling, "the simplest and cheapest option is usually to bury garbage in an environmentally safe landfill."  With the exception of a few items — aluminum cans, cardboard, office paper — the cost of the recycling equipment plus the process itself exceeded the value of the products created by recycling.  Though recycling rarely makes economic sense and often burns up more fresh resources than would have been used in making new items, Americans recycled.  And recycled.  And recycle still.  Are we better off for it?  It can easily be argued we are worse off.

China Exposes the Recycling Scam's Dirty Secret.  The huge dirty secret of recycling was also one of the world's worst polluters.  Every branch of government from Washington D.C. to your local town council had spent a fortune convincing people that recycling is a magical process that turns your old pizza boxes into new pizza boxes while creating those imaginary "green jobs" in the community.  The reality was a lot dirtier.  All of America's industries, including trash sorting, had been outsourced to China.  And recycling is just a fancy lefty way of saying "trash."  All that recycling, which children in progressive communities are taught to sort as the closest thing to a religious ritual, was really being dumped by the ton on dirty ships and sent over to China.  We weren't recycling it.  The Chinese were.  But now China is banning foreign recycling because it's bad for the environment.  Even the Communists got tired of sorting through the trash of American socialists.  The recycling scam shipped garbage on dirty ships for dirty industries while pretending that they're clean and green.  There was never anything clean about it.  And only the money it brought in was green.

Recycling: Another environmental scam goes bust.  Anyone who has ever been to a recycling plant is invariably surprised at how dirty and nasty America's favorite green activity really is.  Trucks dump the material on a long conveyor belt, where a few dozen people pick through by hand what is supposed to be recyclable material but more and more often is just plain old dirty trash.  The recyclables used to be worth something more than bragging rights about liberal moral superiority.  Plastic bottles, newspapers, and cardboard were just a few of the favorites you could ship to China by the ton and make a few bucks along the way.  No more:  Last year, the Chinese were happy to pay us $100 a ton for newsprint.  Today, $5 a ton is the going rate.

Some Inconvenient Truths About Recycling.  It has become an article of faith in the U.S. that recycling is a good thing.  But evidence is piling up that recycling is a waste of time and money, and a bit of a fraud.

The Reign of Recycling.  Despite decades of exhortations and mandates, it's still typically more expensive for municipalities to recycle household waste than to send it to a landfill.  Prices for recyclable materials have plummeted because of lower oil prices and reduced demand for them overseas.  The slump has forced some recycling companies to shut plants and cancel plans for new technologies.  The mood is so gloomy that one industry veteran tried to cheer up her colleagues this summer [2015] with an article in a trade journal titled, "Recycling Is Not Dead!"

Your resume stinks!
Instead of Using Trees, Scientists Are Making Sustainable Paper Out of Manure.  Paper is a material that we use ubiquitously-for printing, books, and advertisements.  Over 40% of the world's cut timber is used for paper production, and it requires millions of trees to be cut down and uses a lot of water.  A research group from the University of Vienna has created a more environmental friendly way to produce paper — from animal poop.

Recycling is a scam — These Canadian cities throw it into landfills.  Environmentalism is a step backwards in terms of civilization and culture.  Isn't part of social progress that we spend less time — and less mental energy — dealing with gross things, like garbage?  Which brings us to the news of the day:  ["]Calgary has 5,000 tonnes of recyclables and no one to take them["]  They used to ship it to China.  (How on earth did that make sense, environmentally or economically?)  But now China is banning it.

'I Say:  We Let the Planet Die'.  That hilarious and politically incorrect line was spoken by Liz Torres' character on the old John Laroquette show.  She was showing her frustration after doing due diligence recycling and separating her trash into paper and plastic only to watch sanitation crews dump it all together in one truck.  I recycle because in NYC you will get fined by inspectors if they find recyclables in regular trash but I also know that these efforts will do absolutely nothing to save the planet.

Seattle Warrantless Garbage Searches Unconstitutional.  King County Judge Beth Andrus ruled Seattle's warrantless searches of garbage violate Washington State's constitution, banning Seattle sanitation workers from looking in residents' trash for possible violations of the city's composting law.  The ruling in Bonesteel, et al. v.  City of Seattle shows states are able to grant rights beyond those guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution.  It was handed down on April 27.  According to the Washington State Constitution, "No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law."  "By authorizing garbage collectors to pry through people's garbage without a warrant, the city has promoted a policy of massive and persistent snooping," said Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) attorney Ethan Blevins in a statement.  Blevins was one of the PLF lawyers who represented the eight plaintiffs.

Hundreds of California recycling centers shut down.  More closures may follow, as the state's subsidy payment program, meant to help centers survive market fluctuations, has failed to keep up with rapid decreases in the value of plastic, glass and aluminum.

Judge Rules Seattle's Warrantless Garbage Search Unconstitutional.  King County Judge Beth Andrus ruled Seattle's warrantless searches of garbage violates Washington State's constitution, banning Seattle sanitation workers from looking for possible violations of the city's composting law in residents' trash.  The April 27, 2016, ruling in Bonesteel, et al. v. City of Seattle shows states are able to grant rights beyond those guaranteed in the U.S. constitution.  According to the Washington State Constitution, "No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law."

Recycling Makes Greens Go Gaga, but It's a Real Burden for the Rest of Us.  On the surface, the phrase "reduce, reuse, recycle" may seem like a sensible call to action for those who want to limit carbon emissions or reduce the amount of waste left behind for future generations.  The reality, however, is that the costs associated with the process of recycling almost always outweigh the benefits. [...] Paper mills pay for the trees they process.  If it was cost-effective to recycle scrap paper, producers would be beating down your door to buy it.  But they aren't.  That means it's more expensive and more resource-intensive to recycle old paper than to cut and pulp pine trees and then replant seedlings for processing when mature.

The Urban Religion of Recycling.  [Scroll down]  "If you believe recycling is good for the planet and that we need to do more of it, then there's a crisis to confront.  Trying to turn garbage into gold costs a lot more than expected.  We need to ask ourselves:  What is the goal here?" says David P. Steiner, the CEO of Waste Management, the largest recycler of household trash in the United States.  Others have wondered about recycling even on the basic, common sense level.  On the one hand, you're doing it to save the environment.  On the other hand, you're employing the services, time, fuel, energy and potentially wasteful activities of the recycling trucks, plants, and all other carbon-based activity involved in the practice of recycling.  Why are we so quick to worry about (and even condemn) the alleged wastefulness of carbon-based activity in one context, while blanking out its possible or actual effects in the context of recycling only?

The Reign of Recycling.  If you live in the United States, you probably do some form of recycling.  It's likely that you separate paper from plastic and glass and metal.  You rinse the bottles and cans, and you might put food scraps in a container destined for a composting facility.  As you sort everything into the right bins, you probably assume that recycling is helping your community and protecting the environment.  But is it?  Are you in fact wasting your time?

Seattle recycling
Recycling is now mandatory.
Seattle sued over recycling inspectors keeping tabs on residents' trash.  When it comes to garbage, the city of Seattle has launched a waste war.  Nine full-time solid waste inspectors have been hired as part of a controversial program to check city trash to make sure people are recycling.  Additionally, contracted waste haulers have been effectively deputized as trash police, given the authority to tag bins when people fail to recycle and compost enough.  The program is now the subject of a lawsuit, as residents fume over what some call an intrusive government program.

Recycling Industry Created Its Own Mess.  [Scroll down]  Thanks to the Internet, the actual volume of newspapers that has ended up in bins declined during that 20-year period, from 15.81 million tons to 7.89 tons.  In other words, the U.S. recycling industry has been spending a lot more money to collect a lot less paper.  Unfortunately, the industry failed to change its infrastructure in response to America's changing reading habits.  The high-tech Municipal Recycling Facilities that many recycling companies built during the recycling boom of the 1990s and 2000s were designed to handle — and profit from — lots and lots of paper.  The recycling industry managed to ignore the hollowing out of its business model for a few years because China's commodity boom drove up the price of most recyclables, including paper.  But once the commodity boom went bust in the early 2010s, U.S. recyclers lost their cover.

The Trash Man Is Watching You.  Saving the planet can be a messy proposition.  This is indelibly clear to Ron Zanazzo, who spends mornings rifling through garbage bags, looking for envelopes or documents that can identify to whom the trash belongs.  "In the summer, it can be pretty disgusting," he told me, matter-of-factly.  "In the winter it's not as bad because it's not maggot-infested and all of that."  Zanazzo is a city employee in Malden, Massachusetts, which, as a part of a drive to be more environmentally friendly, now charges residents for their trash (one of many approaches that cities are trying out in order to cut down on trash).

Seattle's Garbage Police Ticketing Those Who Throw Away Food.  Seattle residents, beware:  The garbage police are on the prowl.  If you put too much food — as defined by the Seattle City Council — into your trash, you will be publicly shamed.  And if you keep doing it, you will be fined.  Last September, the city council, in a move the Seattle Times said did not require a public hearing, made formerly voluntary composting and recycling guidelines mandatory for all Seattle residents.  As of January 1, anyone caught with a trash can containing more than 10 percent food or recyclables gets a big red tag stuck on his can and, beginning in July, an extra dollar added to his garbage bill.

Seattle government now going through citizens' trash for public shaming, revenue.  Sure, the incentive to compost is the putative reason for this regulation, but exactly how is it enforced?  In order for city officials and trash collectors to know you have committed the civic sin of disposing of leftover food in your trashcan, they have to examine the contents of your trashcan.  Let's hope the citizens of Seattle and trash collectors can come to some kind of silent truce over this.

No, there shouldn't be a law.  [Scroll down]  How on Earth are they going to enforce this on any kind of consistent basis?  Will garbage collectors be trained by some sort of trash removal Obi-Wan Kenobi, using the Force to sense if residents slipped some leftover tofu in the wrong trash container?  It's not enough that city employees have to collect our disgusting trash, we are going to make them collect tax revenue too?

Household Recycling is State-Endorsed Slavery.  Recycling is authoritarian, demeaning and an unutterable waste of time, energy and money.  No surprise, then, that the European Union is planning to force its vassal states to do much, much more of it.  Last week, the European Commission proposed its most draconian waste disposal legislation yet:  a plan requiring 70 percent of all municipal waste and 80 percent of packaging waste to be recycled by 2030; a total ban of the landfill of recyclable waste by 2025, aiming "to virtually eliminate landfill" by 2030.  As even the Guardian quietly concedes, this is an impossible ambition.

Now we've got to separate everything: EU forces us to get up to 7 different bins by 2015.  Local councils across the country have been told they will have to follow EU rules from 2015 which mean paper, metal, glass and plastic will have to be collected separately.  Some authorities had previously allowed homeowners to mix their recycling waste but under the new plans all recyclables will have to be split alongside garden, general waste and food compostables — leading to many households having up to seven different boxes, bins and bags.

MA Loses $4-6M Per Year Thanks to Fraudulent Recycling.  The state of Massachusetts is experiencing millions of dollars in loss thanks to entrepreneurial can and bottle collectors from other states carpetbagging in their wares to turn them in for $0.05 a piece.  According to CBS Local Boston, trucks from Rhode Island are traveling into Massachusetts loaded up with bottles and cans, which bring no return in Rhode Island, and handing them over for cash in the Bay State.

Now The European Union Starts To Ban Recycling.  No, it's not a spoof.  It really is true that those tasked with running an entire continent, the bureaucrats in Brussels, think that putting home made jam (jelly to you perhaps) in used jam jars should be and is a crime.  With serious penalties too.

Rampant recycling fraud is draining California cash.  Just over 8.5 billion recyclable cans were sold in California last year.  The number redeemed for a nickel under California's recycling law:  8.3 billion.  That's a return rate of nearly 100%.  That kind of success isn't just impressive, it's unbelievable.  But the recycling rate for certain plastic containers was even higher:  104%.  California's generous recycling redemption program has led to rampant fraud.  Crafty entrepreneurs are driving semi-trailers full of cans from Nevada or Arizona, which don't have deposit laws, across the border and transforming their cargo into truckfuls of nickels.

Sweden may have to import garbage.  A Swedish industry association said the country may have to start importing waste from other countries to keep its power plant incinerators in operation.  Swedish Waste Management said the 30 waste-to-energy incinerators in the country currently burn about 6.06 million tons of garbage each year, and planned expansions indicate the country would have to start importing 1.76 million tons of garbage from other countries each year to keep them in operation, The reported Thursday [6/7/2012].

Food sold in recycled cardboard packaging 'poses risk'.  Leading food manufacturers are changing their packaging because of health concerns about boxes made from recycled cardboard, the BBC has learned.  Researchers found toxic chemicals from recycled newspapers had contaminated food sold in many cardboard cartons.

Too much green?  Millions spent on recycling.  Governments across the Washington region spend millions of dollars on recycling each year, but national recycling experts say a lot of that taxpayer cash is going to waste.  Maryland, Virginia and the District [of Columbia] require residents and businesses to recycle, and localities pay millions of dollars to enforce those laws and hit recycling targets.

Compost Conserved, Lifetime Wasted.  A more intrusive regime for the simple act of discarding something could hardly be devised.  There will be  — count 'em — three color-coded bins into which garbage must be classified, as it is assessed for compostability and recyclability. ... This government-in-your-garbage ordinance is in response to a self-inflicted wound.  It is deemed necessary in order to comply with the city's self-imposed goal of 75% recycling by 2010, as a waypoint to zero waste by 2020.  It would be much cheaper to just dig a hole.

Mandatory Recycling Wastes Resources and Harms the Environment.  "In mid-December 2003, the Seattle City Council decided to make curbside recycling mandatory.  The measure, which goes into effect in January 2005, is a misguided step that will burden taxpayers, antagonize residents, and waste resources.  As an economist who has been studying recycling for nearly 15 years, I long ago learned that the desire for curbside recycling is based mostly on misconceptions."

Gang Green:  Many studies have shown that the environmental benefits from household recycling are minimal or at least highly exaggerated (because it uses a lot of energy and those recycling trucks emit a lot of greenhouse gases).  America is not in danger of ever running out of landfill to store our garbage.  For example, a study by Daniel Benjamin, an economist at Clemson, finds that we could store all of America's garbage for the next century within the property of Ted Turner's ranch in Montana, with 50,000 acres undisturbed for the horse and bison.

Eco-activists' Gross Distortions are Behind California's Crusade to Recycle TVs and PCs.  Californians buying a TV, home computer, or laptop must now pay $6 to $10 to finance a costly program to collect and recycle all used machines throughout the state.

Celebrate Earth Day by Ending Mandatory Recycling!  Mandatory recycling wastes resources — it does not save resources.  The belief that it does is one of our great superstitions.  Anyone who has ever bothered to learn the facts knows this.

Recycling — righteous or rubbish?  The economics suggest a middle road.  Careful cost-benefit analysis shows that recycling often isn't cost-effective:  Many programs try too hard, in a sense, by recycling products that cost more to reprocess than is warranted by the associated environmental and economic benefits — essentially going too far in the cause of environmental protection.  But economists also suggest that some level of recycling is entirely sensible from an economic standpoint.

Recycling is 'Like Throwing Money Away'.  Curbside recycling is one of the most wasteful endeavors practiced by local governments, concluded an investigation by an Orlando, Florida television news station.  According to WFTV Channel 9, recycling programs typically fail to pay for themselves and can cost taxpayers tremendous amounts of money — while providing very negligible benefits.

Eight Great Myths About Waste Disposal:  Since the 1980s, many have claimed that the United States faces a landfill crisis.  In fact, the United States today has more landfill capacity than ever before.  In 2001, the nation's landfills could accommodate 18 years' worth of rubbish, an amount 25 percent greater than a decade before.

Recycling:  It's a bad idea in New York.  New York is but the latest of a growing number of cities that have found the cost of recycling garbage is far, far greater than the costs of simply dumping it.  Despite flowery promises and earnest intentions, mandatory municipal recycling programs across the United States have proven an expensive economic and environmental flop.  Little sustains this odd brand of civic religion beyond the quasi-religious devotion of the Green faithful.

It's OK to Throw it Away:  Tell Your Kids.  Rule number one, don't be intimidated by your kids.  They have a misplaced sense of moral superiority on environmental issues.  Polls show that most information adults get about the environment comes from their kids, who in turn get their views from school and children's television.  One poll concluded that 63 percent of school children have lobbied their parents to recycle.  Don't roll over. The kids, their teachers, and Captain Planet are wrong.

A Consumer's Guide To Environmental Myths and Realities.  MYTH #1:  We are running out of landfill space.  All of the garbage America produces in the next 1,000 years would fit in a landfill that occupies less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the continental United States. … MYTH #6:  Recycling is always good.  Recycling itself can cause environmental harm, e.g., more fuel consumption and more air pollution.  As a result, the environmental costs of recycling may exceed any possible environmental benefits. … MYTH #8:  Recycling paper saves trees.  Since most of the trees used to make paper are grown explicitly for that purpose, if we use less paper, fewer trees will be planted and grown by commercial harvesters.  Recycling paper doesn't save trees, it reduces incentives to plant them.

Time to recycle recycling?  What ... Al Gore and many other environmentalists may not appreciate is that recycling paper is actually a carbon positive process. ... Contrary to received wisdom, paper is one of the least recyclable materials in circulation.

Rethinking Recycling:  Doesn't it go without saying that businesses should recycle paper?  No, answers Ken Braun, cofounder and chairman of Pepper's, a retail chain of natural-ingredient personal-care products, and an avid conservationist who has much to say — and do — about recycling.  Braun's concerns once dictated buying only recycled paper for his company's office supplies.  He's changed his mind.  Not because recycled paper is more expensive than virgin (though it is) or less well finished (that, too), but because in talking to suppliers he determined that the chemicals employed in recovering old paper did more harm to the environment than chopping down new trees did.

Markets are Better than Mandates at Determining Recycling Levels.  As conditions become less favorable to the use of recycled materials, the cost of doing so rises, resulting in net social losses.  For instance, under worst-case conditions, requiring 30 percent recycled content in all glass packaging can cost, on average, $119/ton more than using virgin material.  Mandating 30 percent recycled content in all paper packaging can increase costs by an average of $80/ton.

There is a clear reason why recycling participation is so low:  Recycling makes no economic sense.  If the value of recycled goods was as much as or more than the cost of collecting the goods, recyclers would pay people for them.  The fact that recyclers don't pay for used goods tells us a government-financed program is an economic loser.

Regarding the environmental impacts of recycling, sending large, polluting garbage-collection trucks on an additional trip to every house in a municipality worsens air quality and wastes gasoline.  Moreover, the recycling facilities themselves are notoriously harmful to the environment, with recycling facilities at times representing more than 25 percent of EPA's worst superfund sites.

Recycling:  Your Time Can Be Better Spent!  Many people believe recycling either pays for itself or is worth the cost.  Both positions are wrong.  Every community recycling program in America today costs more than the revenue it generates.  The value of recycled materials on the open market has declined dramatically in recent years, and in many cases there is no market at all.

Time for a New Look at Recycling.  Recycling, originally sold as virtually a cure-all for solid waste problems and as an environmental feel-good to boot, has been greatly oversold.

The Utter Waste of Recycling.  Ask yourself about the utility of recycling.  Glass is made from sand.  The Earth is not running out of sand.  Newspapers, when buried, stay intact for decades and, when burned, become mere ashes.  Recycling plastic requires as much or more energy than to produce it.  Its uses, however, are extraordinary, contributing to a healthier lifestyle for everyone.  So, why recycle?

Recycling is a Waste.  Much of the impetus for mandatory recycling programs came from a 1980s Environmental Protection Agency study showing that the number of landfills was decreasing.  While this was true, the landfills themselves were getting bigger, and the total capacity was increasing!  Indeed, the U.S. currently has 18 years worth of landfill even if no new landfills are built.  And at current rates of disposal, a single landfill just 100 yards deep and 35 miles square could contain all the garbage generated in the U.S. for the next 1,000 years.

Recycling goes from boom to bust as economy stalls.  Just months after riding an incredible high, the recycling market has tanked almost in lockstep with the global economic meltdown.  As consumer demand for autos, appliances and new homes dropped, so did the steel and pulp mills' demand for scrap, paper and other recyclables.

Our Widespread Faith In Recycling Is Misplaced.  A decade ago a wandering garbage barge set off a political crisis:  Where will we put our trash?  The media inflamed people's fears of mounting piles of garbage.  A variety of interest groups - particularly "public relations consultants, environmental organizations, waste-handling corporations," according to journalist John Tierney - lobbied to line their pockets.  Politicians seeking to win votes enacted a spate of laws and regulations to encourage and often mandate recycling.

[To make the average German feel superior at a time when, objectively, his life was getting worse] recycling measures were introduced, ostensibly to push Germany along the road to economic self-sufficiency.  This device, adopted in World War I, as well as World War II, certainly had no particular economic impact.  Its real purpose was psychological:  to create a sense of community of shared participation in the war effort.  Even today, elderly Germans, some of whom stuff their cupboards with old string as they were told to do in the Third Reich, still remember warmly the recycling, fuel-saving, and housekeeping aspects of the Nazi era.  It was one of the hidden links that subtly connected the regime with its citizens.

— Adam LeBor and Roger Boyes:  "Seduced by Hitler", page 30.    

This is an original compilation, Copyright © 2017 by Andrew K. Dart

Why The Trash You Sort Isn't Recycled:  My neighbors are unhappy to learn that the trash they've carefully sorted for years into brown bottles, green bottles, cans, and paper is being dumped back into one pile at the local landfill.  Except for aluminum cans, no one wants the sorted trash items.  Is this bad for the environment?  Probably not.

Mountains of recycled rubbish spring up across UK.  Experts estimate that up to 15 percent of all recycling is now being stored in warehouses and ports, waiting for a buyer.  Some of the waste could be stuck there for a year. ... Prices have now fallen so far that the cost of making new plastic is cheaper than reusing the recycled material.

UK's growing waste paper mountain as market collapses.  Taxpayers are facing a multi-million-pound bill to store 100,000 tons of waste paper and cardboard as the British recycling industry plunges into crisis.  Rubbish carefully sorted by householders is piling up in vast warehouses as the market for waste paper collapses, and experts have warned that the mountain of garbage could double in the next three months.

Recycling Is Garbage.  Recycling could be America's most wasteful activity. … The obvious temptation is to blame journalists, who did a remarkable job of creating the garbage crisis, often at considerable expense to their own employers.  Newspaper and magazine publishers, whose products are a major component of municipal landfills, nobly led the crusade against trash, and they're paying for it now through regulations that force them to buy recycled paper - a costly handicap in their struggle against electronic rivals.

Recycling program costs Austin $900K.  The City of Austin said its new single stream recycling program is not a big "waste" despite a near $900,000 shortfall.  The environmental group, Ecology Action of Texas, said the program caused the city to lose that amount after going into effect last fall.

However… What to Do with Three Billion Abandoned Tires?  Cement kiln recyclers put them to good use.  Few things are more unsightly than a pile of discarded tires.  Unfortunately, America has quite a few such piles.  There are about 3 billion abandoned tires in the U.S., with another 200 million being added each year.

New recycling bins with tracking chips coming to Alexandria.  Alexandria residents soon will have to pay for larger home recycling bins featuring built-in monitoring devices.  The City Council added a mandatory $9 charge to its residents' annual waste collection fee.  That cash — roughly $180,000 collected from 19,000 residents — will pay for new larger recycling carts equipped with computer microchips, which will allow the city to keep tabs on its bins and track resident participation in the city's recycling program.

Do they have to put RFID chips in everything?


Homes may have gas cut off if they refuse to take part in hydrogen trial.  Homeowners who refuse to take part in a hydrogen energy trial will be forcibly cut off by gas network operators, under Government plans to test green heating alternatives.  Residents in one village will begin the pilot scheme by 2025 to help the Government assess whether hydrogen gas can be used as a low-carbon alternative for heating homes across the country.  Ministers insisted the powers to enter people's homes and switch off their gas would only be used as a "last resort" if the homeowners had refused to engage with any other options.  A consultation, which ended this week, suggests the Government will seek powers to allow gas distribution networks to enter homes if their owners do not wish to take part in the trial, in order to safely switch them off from the gas grid.

Household energy bills will rise when homes are forced to switch to hydrogen heating, energy minister admits.  Household energy bills are expected to rise amid plans to force homes into using hydrogen heating.  The starting gun for a new 'dash for gas' was fired yesterday [8/15/2021] as the Government launched its strategy for Britain to burn hydrogen and create a £900 million industry in the next five years.  Energy Strategy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said that creating a UK hydrogen industry would lead to 9,000 jobs by 2030, by which time the sector's economy would be worth £4 billion.  This would rise to 100,000 jobs and £13 billion in economic benefits by 2050, he said. [...] Hydrogen is considered a 'key pillar' in the quest to make Britain 'net zero' — or emitting zero greenhouse gases — by 2050.

The Editor says...
[#1] Any time a politician promises to create 100,000 "green" jobs, in an industry where no such jobs existed before, you can bet the farm that the actual number of jobs created in the remainder of this century will be about a thousand.  Probably less.  [#2] There is very little energy available from hydrogen gas, as opposed to methane (natural gas) or hydrocarbon fuels (coal, oil, diesel, gasoline).  The government of the U.K. has set as its primary goal the elimination of carbon dioxide.  This is futile, of course, because China and India are making no such effort.  It is also expensive.  Why not let the customers decide which fuel to use for home heating?  We call that free-market capitalism.

A few words on behalf of hydrogen:
Hydrogen gas-fuelled airships could spur development in remote communities.  Unlike the prohibition on hemp, hydrogen gas bans in the United States and Canada are extremely narrow.  It's legal to use hydrogen for almost every conceivable purpose, except one:  as a gas to provide buoyancy for airships, more commonly known as blimps (although there are differences between airships, blimps and dirigibles).  In fact, Canada still has a ban enshrined in its air regulations that states:  "Hydrogen is not an acceptable lifting gas for use in airships."  Canada's ban on this use of hydrogen is strange given that Canada has never had an airship industry.

Are you ready for ... greenie hydrogen?  The reality is that all green generators are unreliable and intermittent — they seldom produce rated capacity for more than a few hours.  "Green hydrogen" would create a messy scatter of expensive equipment for panels, turbines, roads, power lines, electrolytic cells, and specialised storage tanks and freighters — all to produce stop-start supplies of a tricky, dangerous new fuel.  Risking capital in such ventures is best suited to unsubsidized and well-insured speculators.  There are other problems.  Australia, where I am, is a huge dry continent.  Burning hydrocarbons like coal, oil, and gas releases plant-friendly CO2 and water into the atmosphere.  (Every tonne of hydrogen in coal produces 9 tonnes of new water as it burns.)  However, every tonne of green hydrogen extracted using electrolysis will remove more than 9 tonnes of fresh surface water from the local environment.  That water may be released to the atmosphere far away, wherever the hydrogen is consumed (maybe in another hemisphere).  The tonnage of water thus removed (often from sunny dry outback areas) would be substantial.  Farmers will wake up one morning to see their hills covered in wind turbines and power lines, their flats smothered in solar panels, and a huge hydrogen generator draining their water supply.  Not green at all.

Hydrogen, The once and future fuel?  International enthusiasm for a shift towards a hydrogen economy has never been stronger.  However, this interest is not grounded in any recent technological breakthrough, but in the inexorable logic of current climate mitigation ambitions.  Current policy sees in hydrogen a universal free parameter, offering the possibility of decarbonising otherwise extremely difficult sectors in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.  Policy is thus dependent on the current state of hydrogen production, which is essentially a commodity production system, not an energy system, a fact with severely negative implications for round-trip energy efficiency and cost.  It is a desperate measure, and critically dependent on the viability of carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) of the emissions arising from the production of hydrogen.

U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers Could Soon Use Innovative Fuel Made From Seawater.  The Department of Defense Office of Naval Research has awarded $300,000 to the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Rochester, for an ongoing research project that is developing seawater-to-fuel technology.  The project began in April and will continue for 2 years.  The concept is not a new one and scientists have been working on improving this technology for several years.  The idea behind it is that ships could be able to convert seawater into fuel.  More precisely, carbon dioxide and hydrogen could be extracted from water, by using a nuclear reactor on board, and then transformed into liquid fuel.

The Editor says...
If there is a reliable reactor on board, why bother with the additional step of manufacturing hydrogen?

Experts blow up Boris's hydrogen pipe dream.  Major concerns were mounting today over whether Britain will be ready for Boris Johnson's 'ambitious' plans to ban gas boilers in all new-build homes by 2023, after the target was brought forward by two years.  The proposal was branded 'impossible' because just two hydrogen boiler prototypes exist, a fifth of the pipe network still needs to be relaid and every engineer will be retrained.  The ban on methane gas boilers means new homes must have low-carbon alternatives, such as electric heat pumps or hydrogen boilers — but it has surprised many homebuilders who had been working towards a deadline of 2025.  And 20 percent of the UK's pipe network is not yet ready to safely carry hydrogen — while not a single hydrogen boiler is yet on sale for consumers, with only two prototypes currently being tested.

Boris Johnson's green plan brings ban on petrol cars forward to 2030 and promises UK's first hydrogen-powered town.  Boris Johnson has set out plans for green investment over the coming decade, including a target to generate enough offshore wind to power every home in the UK and a ban on new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2030.  The prime minister's long-awaited 10-point plan for a "green industrial revolution" also promised the UK's first hydrogen-powered town, four carbon capture "clusters" to suck 10 megatons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and a new generation of advanced nuclear reactors.  But green campaigners warned that the £12bn in public funding promised by Mr Johnson fell well short of the scale of ambition needed, while there was dismay at his inclusion of "pie-in-the-sky" plans for zero-emission jet planes.

The Editor says...
How would you like to live in a hydrogen-powered city during a thunderstorm?  Maybe they could name the place Hindenburg.  No smoking, please!

Hydrogen touted as fuel of the future.  Hydrogen will transform the transport industry and could eventually replace natural gas, Arup's environment and resources leader Mike Straughton says.  Speaking at the Australian Financial Review's National Energy Summit, Mr Straughton outlined the increasing importance of hydrogen as a future energy source, saying it had "moved beyond the Hindenburg".

Hydrogen produces only water when it burns.  So naturally people would like to see automobiles use hydrogen as fuel.  But unfortunately there just isn't enough energy available from a gallon of liquid hydrogen to justify the cost.  And liquid hydrogen would require a highly specialized gas tank.  Then there is the problem of hydrogen production.  Hydrogen doesn't gush out of the ground in West Texas.  You can make hydrogen at home with a 9-volt battery and a glass of water ... but not enough to start your car.

California's alternative-energy program under scrutiny.  California is spending nearly $15 million to build 10 hydrogen fueling stations, even though just 227 hydrogen-powered vehicles exist in the state today.  It's a hefty bet on the future, given that government officials have been trying for nine years, with little success, to get automakers to build more hydrogen cars.  The project is part of a sprawling but little-known state program that packs a powerful financial punch:  It spent $1.6 billion last year on a myriad of energy-efficiency and alternative-energy projects.

Hydrogen Conundrum.  Hyundai has just released a new hydrogen-powered car in New Zealand — the ix35 Fuel Cell SUV.  It emits water from its tail pipe, so why isn't it on the front burner for environmentalists? [...] Hyundai indicated the fuel cell pack used in the ix35 Fuel Cell SUV, costs $100,000, although many believe it costs more.  Hyundai expects to bring the cost of the fuel cell pack down to $50,000 by 2015.  This is still several times the cost of an internal combustion engine and five times the cost of the Li-ion battery used in GM's Volt.

Hydrogen Fuel Cells May Have Environmental Drawback:  Researchers have issued a report saying that if hydrogen replaced fossil fuels, large amounts of hydrogen would drift into the stratosphere as a result of leakage and indirectly cause increased depletion of the ozone.

Whatever happened to the hydrogen economy?  Even in Iceland, whose grand ambitions for a renewable hydrogen economy once earned it the title Bahrain of the north, visible progress has been modest.  After years of research, the country now boasts one hydrogen filling station, a handful of hydrogen cars, and one whale-watching boat with a fuel cell for auxiliary power. ... In California, where governor Arnold Schwarzenegger promised a "hydrogen highway" with 200 hydrogen filling stations by 2010, there are just five open to the public.

The Realities of a Hydrogen Economy.  Among other things, (1) It costs about $5 to produce enough hydrogen equivalent to the energy potential of one gallon of gasoline.  (2) Hydrogen's low density would require 21 tanker trucks to haul the amount of energy delivered by a single gasoline truck today, and a hydrogen tanker traveling 500 kilometers would use an amount of hydrogen equaling 40 percent of its cargo.  (3) At room temperature, hydrogen takes up 3,000 times more space as an energy-equivalent of amount gasoline, therefore, compressed or liquefied gas must be used in vehicle tanks; but tanks on today's hydrogen vehicles take up to eight times as much space as a normal gas tank to store an equivalent amount of fuel.

The Great Hydrogen Myth:  Hydrogen is held out as a clean-burning, virtually inexhaustible source of energy, but as a Washington Times editorial pointed out in November [2002], others "suggest it is a gaseous dream rising on the rhetoric of environmental windbags."  If enough billions are spent, it seems reasonable to expect hydrogen to become an energy source, but like most environmental pipe dreams, this one has a silent agenda of eliminating petroleum as an energy source, nor can we reasonably expect a dramatic breakthrough.

Hydrogen Cars Won't Make a Difference for 40 Years.  President Bush, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the big automakers agree on this much:  They love hydrogen-powered fuel cell technology and its promise of a zero-emission, petroleum-free future.  Unfortunately, experts say it will be 40 years or more before hydrogen has any meaningful impact on gasoline consumption or global warming, and we can't afford to wait that long.  In the meantime, fuel cells are diverting resources from more immediate solutions.

Hydrogen cars and hot air:  Would you buy a car that costs 10 times as much as a hybrid gasoline-electric one, like the Toyota Prius?  What if I told you it had half the range of the hybrid?  What if I told you most cities didn't have a single hydrogen fuelling station?  Not interested yet?  This should be the deal closer:  what if I told you it wouldn't have lower greenhouse-gas emissions than the hybrid? ... Nobody should get terribly excited when a car company rolls out its wildly impractical next-generation hydrogen car.

LA gas station gets hydrogen fuel pump.  The Shell station near Interstate 405, which was charging $4.59 per gallon of regular gas Thursday [6/26/2008], features one pump with a bright blue "Hydrogen" label above a video monitor that dispenses the fuel by the kilogram.  Hydrogen is made and stored in a tank above the dispenser.  For now, the fuel is available to roughly 100 hydrogen-powered vehicles on the road in California, all of them being used in demonstration programs by motor companies, said Roy Kim, a spokesman with the California Fuel Cell Partnership.  Because all the cars are in those programs, drivers won't be charged for filling up at the station.

The Editor says...
Notice that hydrogen is dispensed by the kilogram, but there is no mention of the price per kilogram, if someone were to try to make a purchase. Notice also that hydrogen is considered safe in cars but not in blimps.

US govt hydrogen highway runs out of road.  The original hydrogen plan was announced by then President Bush in 2003 and, to date, the US government has spent around $500m (£328m/€367m) on the project.  There's not much to show for it other than some Honda FCX Claritys and Chevrolet Equinoxes running around California, and 70-odd hydrogen filling stations nationwide.  Not so much a case of hydrogen tech being put on the back burner but rather being wrapped in cling film and shoved to the rear of the freezer.

DOE to slash fuel cell vehicle research.  The Department of Energy's proposed budget boosts research on energy efficiency and renewable energy sources but makes cuts in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles because the technology is many years from being practical.  The DOE published details of its $26.4 billion fiscal 2010 budget request on Thursday [5/7/2009], and Energy Secretary Steven Chu held a news briefing to cover the highlights.

"Green" buildings:

New £15million 'carbon neutral' university laboratory goes up in flames.  The Carbon Neutral Laboratory for Sustainable Chemistry at Nottingham University was destroyed after it several fires broke out inside the state-of-the-art building on Friday night [9/12/2014].

Report: DC's green-approved buildings using more energy.  Washington, D.C. may have the highest number of certified green buildings in the country, but research by Environmental Policy Alliance suggests it might not be doing much good.  The free-market group analyzed the first round of energy usage data released by city officials Friday [2/28/2014] and found that large, privately-owned buildings that received the green energy certification Leadership in Energy Design (LEED) actually use more energy than buildings that didn't receive this green stamp of approval.  LEED is the brainchild of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a private environmental group.

'Eco-school' that opened just three years ago is already leaking.  When it opened its timber doors three years ago, this £7million 'eco primary school' was applauded for its environmentally friendly credentials.  It was heated by solar power and its plumbing system relied on rain collected from the roof, which was made of locally grown sweet chestnut.  Sadly, the zero-carbon building is not quite as sustainable as the designers had hoped.

Pixel building in Melbourne named among world's ugliest.  The Pixel building in Melbourne has been named among the world's top 10 building eyesores by travel website and Reuters.  An architectural guinea pig in carbon neutral designs, the building stands out with its quirky design featuring what appears to be shards of glass in bright colours.

Children 'falling asleep in stuffy eco-classrooms'.  Children are falling asleep in class because new eco-friendly schools have appalling ventilation, experts warned today.  Builders have created air-tight classrooms which are intended to reduce heat loss but also stop carbon dioxide escaping.  Higher CO2 levels in newly-built schools are leaving children drowsy and less able to concentrate, researchers from University College London and Reading University found.

Climate Change department keep air-conditioning rather than open windows.  Plans to switch off the air-conditioning and instead open windows at the Department for Energy and Climate Change have been scrapped after staff complained about the noise. ... The trial was abandoned after three days because staff at the department complained about noise from construction works, "the wrong kind of breeze" and the potential security risk.

Green Math Is Bad Math.  [Scroll down] The entire renovation costs $133 million.  The plants are only one component, but the G.S.A. admits that the renovation is being undertaken for the purpose of making the building "green."  Done as a project of the Office of Federal High-Performance Green Buildings, the renovation is Oregon's largest federal stimulus project.

Chicago officials say pebbles broke windows.  Chicago officials say white pebbles spread on rooftops to reflect sunlight are to blame for some broken high-rise windows in last week's violent storms.

Nancy Pelosi's taxpayer-funded, exorbitantly expensive, eco-friendly office space.  Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., recently moved into a new district office, located in the San Francisco Federal Building.  All sorts of reasons were cited for the move — she'd been in the old office for twenty years; the new office's location is more accessible for her constituents; she needed more space; the new office is in a "green" building.  These explanations seem reasonable, until you find out how much she's paying for them. ... Speaker Pelosi is paying $18,736 a month for her lovely new workspace.

How I (Almost) Saved the Earth.  When I started researching the field of green building, as part of the planning for our own home, I learned that, in many cases, you can't get there from here.  Allow me to share some of the things we learned.  It's California-centric, but I think you can generalize from my experience.  As a rule, the greener the home, the uglier it will be.

Earth day:

Dire famine forecast by 1975
Earth Day's legacy of failed apocalyptic predictions.  All the solemnity that attaches to Earth Day, with scolds like Greta Thunberg and politicians attending "virtual" summits, ought to be drowned out by peals of laughter.  The real slogan of the global warming crowd ought to be.  "Fool me once, shame on me.  Fool me fifty times, shame on you."  Yes, fooled by phony proclamations of doom fifty times.  At a minimum.

Earth Day Overshadowed This Year By An Actual Crisis.  Today [4/22/2020] is Earth Day, a celebration conceived by then-U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin and first held in 1970 as a "symbol of environmental responsibility and stewardship."  In the spirit of the time, it was a touchy-feely, consciousness-raising, New Age experience.  Most activities were organized at the grassroots level.  In recent years, however, Earth Day has devolved into an occasion for professional environmental activists and alarmists to warn of apocalypse, dish anti-technology dirt, and proselytize.

UN hysteria linking climate change and species extinction mindlessly parroted by media.  Then there were all those looming disasters projected by scientists on the first Earth Day almost fifty years ago.  A quick summary:  We would all be dead by 1985 to 2000.  (I would ask Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez what she thinks of that one.)  We would be out of food either in the 1970s or 1980s.  During the 1980s, four billion people would die, including 65 million in the U.S.  By 1980, urban dwellers would have to wear gas masks to survive.  Soon, none of our land will be usable because of too much nitrogen.  The rivers will be out of oxygen, and freshwater fish will all be gone.  By 1995, 75% to 80% of species will be gone.  And ecologist Kenneth Watt said, because we were going into an ice age, that the Earth would be four degrees cooler by 1990 and eleven degrees colder by 2000.  I thought CO2, humans, and fossil fuels caused warming and it was a consensus, so how did anyone predict a coming ice age?

When Earth Day Predictions Go Predictably Wrong.  As activists around the world recently celebrated Earth Day with warnings about the awful state of our planet, now seems like the right time to share the good news that actually — contrary to countless dire predictions — we're not running out of resources.  In fact, the late economist and scholar Julian Simon was right:  People again and again have innovated "their way out of resource shortages."

18 spectacularly wrong predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, expect more this year.  In the May 2000 issue of Reason Magazine, award-winning science correspondent Ronald Bailey wrote an excellent article titled "Earth Day, Then and Now" to provide some historical perspective on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day.  In that article, Bailey noted that around the time of the first Earth Day, and in the years following, there was a "torrent of apocalyptic predictions" and many of those predictions were featured in his Reason article.  Well, it's now the 46th anniversary of Earth Day, and a good time to ask the question again that Bailey asked 16 years ago:  How accurate were the predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970?  The answer:  "The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong," according to Bailey.  Here are 18 examples of the spectacularly wrong predictions made around 1970 when the "green holy day" (aka Earth Day) started: [...]

Earth Day:  Opposing Progress Trumps Protecting the Planet.  By injecting a toxic mix of politics and junk science into Earth Day, its organizers forfeit an opportunity to promote the kind of environmental awareness that might lead to worthwhile initiatives.  They turn genuine environmentalists (like us) into Earth Day skeptics.  The Earth Day campaign itself isn't about saving species; it's about limiting or ending the benefits of science and technology that spur progress on so many fronts.

Tonight is Earth Hour:  A celebration of ignorance and poverty.  We are quickly approaching the annual one-hour event in energy self-flagellation and green nitwittery known as Earth Hour, which takes place tonight on Saturday, March 30, at 8:30 p.m (local time). Our friends at Earth Hour are asking people around the world to "set aside an hour to host events, switch off their lights, and make noise for the Earth Hour movement."

The Great Earth Day Yawn.  Wait — yesterday was Earth Day!  I must have yawned right through it.  Like most Americans, if you go by the surveys showing increasing public indifference toward environmentalism.  I used to make a big deal out of Earth Day, pointing out for years that the data in rich countries showed an almost unbroken record of significant environmental improvement is just about every major category.

13 Worst Predictions Made on Earth Day, 1970.  In 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated — okay, "celebrated" doesn't capture the funereal tone of the event.  The events (organized in part by then hippie and now convicted murderer Ira Einhorn) predicted death, destruction and disease unless we did exactly as progressives commanded.

Is it "lights out" for Earth Hour?  Power usage spikes on Canada's "Left Coast".  Ten years ago, Earth Hour seemed like a good idea on paper but in practice, the notion people would turn off their lights and electrical gadgets for 60 minutes was farcical and did absolutely nothing tangible.  And now in 2018, it seems more people were celebrating Human Achievement Hour (HAH) than Earth Hour.  Coincidentally, HAH takes place on the same day and time but is all about celebrating technology by turning everything on for 60 minutes.  According to CTV, power usage in British Columbia spiked during Earth Hour so even on Canada's left coast in an NDP-led province with the nation's only elected Green Party MP, it would appear they're no longer buying into Earth Hour propaganda.

Lights go dark for Earth Hour to highlight climate change.  It lasted for just an hour and its power is purely symbolic.

The left's failed civil war.  While tearing down American monuments, such leftists also try to build their own shrines in time or space to celebrate the destruction of capitalism.  They deliberately set April 22 as Earth Day, for example, because its 1970 founding was the 100th birthday of Soviet Union founder Vladimir Lenin.  The left, having made Lenin's birthday an American holiday, has resisted all attempts to change this green-outside, red-inside watermelon day to a natural event, such as the spring equinox, or to a convenient day such as the third Saturday of April.

Flashback: Earth Day Co-Founder Killed, Composted His Girlfriend.  Here's an inconvenient truth about the self-described founder of Earth Day:  He murdered and composted his girlfriend.  Environmental activist and self-proclaimed Earth Day co-founder Ira Einhorn had a dark side.  NBC News reported in 2011 that Einhorn was found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend and stuffing her "composted" body inside a trunk.  After five years of being together, Helen Maddux broke up with Einhorn.  Enraged, he threatened to throw Maddux's belongings onto the street if she didn't come by to get them.  She went to Einhorn's apartment to retrieve them on Sept. 9, 1977 but was never seen again.

Reminder: Earth Day Co-Founder Composted His Girlfriend.  You're currently reading this, which means you have Internet access, which means I don't have to tell you that today is Earth Day.  You've been bombarded with it already.  But here's a little something your moral, ethical, and intellectual betters won't tell you, as they're haranguing you about killing the planet by showering too much and leaving your cellphone charger plugged in:  One of the founders of Earth Day is an insane murderer.

Earth Day Roots Include Participation by Convicted Murderer.  Earth Day, originally founded in 1970 by then-U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI), is an annual event in which municipalities and communities express their support for preserving the environment in the form of fairs, festivals, and similar events.  Among the festivals and feel-good events that took place this past Earth Day, however, there was no mention of one of the high-profile figures who claimed to have inspired — and to take full credit for the idea — one Ira Einhorn.

We're getting buried in Earth Day trash talk.  Earth Day, the highest of holy days for the Church of Climate Hysteria, has come and, mercifully, gone.  Imagine if it were anything like the Old World's 12 days of Christmas.  We'd never get the National Mall out from beneath the garbage heap sacrificed to Mother Gaia by the climate-change faithful.  Then again, how different are those celebrants' trashy proclivities from a president who burns more than 9,000 gallons of jet fuel to haul Air Force One to the Everglades for a politicized speech he could as easily have delivered from the Rose Garden?

Earth Day: Kwanzaa for liberals.  Earth Day is attractive for a particular variety of liberal.  Young, desiring to be upwardly mobile but maybe finding out now that $250K in student loans and a master's degree in jazz clarinet isn't the ticket, reflexively liberal, lacking in ambition, and, need I say it, white.  At its essence, though, Earth Day is a politico-religious festival much like Kwanzaa.  It was invented out of whole cloth based on pseudo-science.  If one looks at the elements one finds in religions (i.e. creation, fall from grace, redemption, salvation) it is easy to see how Earth Day fits into the religion of environmentalism as easily as the Beatitudes fit into Christianity.

Reminder: Earth Day Co-Founder Killed and Composted His Girlfriend.  It's Earth Day and millions of people across the world are celebrating with events about global warming.  President Obama will travel to Florida via fossil fuel powered Air Force One to give a speech in the Everglades and last weekend people in Washington D.C. celebrated early by trashing the National Mall.  But like many far-left movements, Earth Day has a dark past and was co-founded by a guy who killed and composted his girlfriend.

EPA Administrator to Appear at Broccoli Festival with Willow and Jaden Smith.  Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administrator Gina McCarthy will attend an "environmental justice" Broccoli festival that features performances by Willow and Jaden Smith, who do not believe in school or the concept of time.  "On Saturday, April 25, EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy will give remarks at the Third Annual Broccoli City Festival's Earth Day celebration," an EPA press release stated.

Obama honors Earth Day by using 9,180 gallons of jet fuel — that's just the start.  President Obama is celebrating Earth Day by flying in his jumbo jet down to Florida so he can tour the Everglades.  The 1,836-mile roundtrip will consume 9,180 gallons of fuel on Air Force One, according to CBS White House reporter Mark Knoller.  And that's just the president's plane.  There will a half-dozen support planes along for the trip, Marine One helicopters, and a 25- to 30-vehicle motorcade belching exhaust into the air.

18 spectacularly wrong apocalyptic predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, expect more this year.  [Scroll down]  Well, it's now the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, and a good time to ask the question again that [Ronald] Bailey asked 15 years ago:  How accurate were the predictions made around the time of the first Earth Day in 1970?  The answer:  "The prophets of doom were not simply wrong, but spectacularly wrong," according to Bailey.

5 Things You're Not Likely to Hear About on Earth Day.  President Obama flew down to Florida this Earth Day [4/22/2015] to give his umpteenth speech on climate change.  That means he'll have added something like 94 metric tons of CO2 into the atmosphere on his round-trip 747 flight to decry CO2 emissions.  In any case, as with every Earth Day, the public gets an annual dose of fear and loathing about the environmental dangers facing our planet.  Well, here are some inconvenient facts environmentalists aren't likely to tell anyone.

National Mall Trashed After Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day Concert.  Yesterday [4/18/2015] was Global Citizen 2015 Earth Day, which was celebrated with a concert and other festivities on the National Mall.  While the concert itself was powered by solar energy, the attendees could have learned a lesson or two about taking care of planet Earth.

Earth Day 1970: The 7 Dumbest Predictions Made by the Radical Left Environmental Nutjobs.  [For example,] "The world has been chilling sharply for about twenty years.  If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but eleven degrees colder in the year 2000.  This is about twice what it would take to put us into an ice age." — Kenneth Watt

The Rise And Fall Of Earth Day, A Day No One Notices Anymore.  The decline of Earth Day is in part an unintended consequence of its success.  The older among us remember the stinging ozone-laden smog of southern California and the opaque air of Pittsburgh.  These, along with countless other environmental horrors, were pretty much everywhere, and everyone agreed we had tremendous problems.  The EPA was started not by lefty democrats but by Richard Nixon.  People were literally sick and very tired of the obvious pollution of so many of the nation's urban airsheds.

Liberals Litter on Earth Day.  There are many things about liberals that are infuriating, but one of the most aggravating is their unabashed hypocrisy.  From the President of the United States to Earth Day revelers in a San Francisco park, what sets liberals apart from sane people is that they rarely do what they demand from everyone else.

Earth Day co-founder written out of history.  Like many liberal causes that have gone mainstream, powered by partisan media, Earth Day had some very radical beginnings.  First, it's on April 22, the birthday of the ruthless Russian communist leader Vladimir Lenin.  If you think that's a coincidence, and it might be, let's learn more about one of Earth Day's founders, Ira Einhorn.  Einhorn was a leftist leader who cheered on the Viet Cong in the 1960s, hoping for a United States defeat.  Then he adopted environmentalism and in 1970 hosted one of the very first Earth Day rallies.  Thereafter, he claimed to be co-founder of Earth Day.

Celebrate Earth Daze!  This Earth Day, we have more to fear from rising gas and food prices than from rising sea levels.  We have long argued that wealthier societies are healthier societies and that reducing emission levels to those desired by such entities as the U.N.'s International Panel on Climate Change and treaties like Kyoto was a recipe for global poverty.  Consider that a 2008 MIT study showed that even the carbon footprint of a homeless person in the United States is more than four times the U.N. recommendation.

Earth Day Denigrates Capitalism — and Humans.  Environmentalists have always admired Lenin.  He was the first disciple of Karl Marx to capture control of a country, and the opening act of his seven-year reign commenced with the abolition of all private property — a Marxist priority.  Despite overseeing a bloody civil war, a devastated economy, and a citizenry without hope, Lenin made it a priority to implement his signature decree, "On Land."  In it he declared that all forests, waters, and minerals to be the exclusive property of the state, and he demanded these resources be protected from use by the public and private enterprise.  Selling timber or firewood, mining minerals, or diverting water for farming was strictly prohibited.

Earth Day and Environmental Insanity:  Anyone who has been paying any attention to the environmental movement has got to have concluded it is insane. ... Environmentalism, worldwide and in the United States of America, is devoted to the collapse of every scientific and technological advance of the past century, along with the capitalist system that made them possible.

Your Non-Plastic Bags Are Killing the Earth, Hippies.  Ah, it's Earth Day: the day when millions of unwitting schoolchildren across this country will be brainwashed into believing there really are 50 simple things that can save the Earth from the devastating effects of modern industry, and where high schoolers will be force-fed copies of An Inconvenient Truth while being excoriated on their rampant embraces of consumerism, right before they drive their gas-guzzling SUVs out of the parking lot and to their jobs at rainforest-depleting fast food restaurants.

The True and Ugly Story of Earth Day.  While Christians across the world marked Easter and Jews marked Passover, liberals marked their annual ode to neo-paganism with hippy-dippy exercises in green self-righteousness.  Of course, they neglected to mention that Gaia herself was a Greek hussy who mythologically created the oceans and the depths by an incestuous relationship with her son, Uranus.  They also neglected to mention that one original co-founder of Earth Day was a murderer, that its first backers were tie-dyed socialists who hated capitalism, and that Earth Day itself was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Lenin.

Earth Day's dark side.  Sunday was Earth Day, the annual jamboree of the green movement held worldwide since 1970.  Unfortunately, a review of the accomplishments of the advocates of environmentalism and population control since that spectacular debut shows very little reason to celebrate.

The True and Ugly Story of Earth Day.  While Christians across the world marked Easter and Jews marked Passover, liberals marked their annual ode to neo-paganism with hippy-dippy exercises in green self-righteousness.  Of course, they neglected to mention that Gaia herself was a Greek hussy who mythologically created the oceans and the depths by an incestuous relationship with her son, Uranus.  They also neglected to mention that one original co-founder of Earth Day was a murderer, that its first backers were tie-dyed socialists who hated capitalism, and that Earth Day itself was timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of Vladimir Lenin.

Earth Day Denigrates Capitalism — and Humans.  On this date in 1970, a trio of radical dreamers established Earth Day, an annual event designed to assault capitalism, free markets, and mankind.  The initial concept was conceived by then-Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D.-Wis.).  Nelson was Congress' leading environmentalist, a sort of pre-incarnate Sen. Barbara Boxer in drag.  He was also the mastermind behind those ridiculous teach-ins that were vogue in the '60s and early '70s.  During the teach-ins, mutinous school instructors would scrap the day's assigned curriculum, pressure their students to sit cross-legged on the floor, and "rap" about how America was an imperialist nation, and converse about why communism really wasn't such a bad form of government — it just needed to be implemented properly.

Earth Day instead of Easter?  Some Catholics are concerned with what they see as an attempt by environmentalists to hijack Easter for their own Earth Day purposes.  In a letter dated April 1 to churches across the country, the environmentalist group Earth Day Network encourages priests to remember Earth Day Sunday, even though Easter is that same Sunday.  "This year we again invite you to celebrate Earth Day Sunday and share with your parishioners a story of creation care that will impart to them the importance of protecting a nurturing the planet that was provided to us," the letter reads.

Earth Day — a national establishment of religion.  Friday, April 22, is the 41st anniversary of Earth Day.  The theme this year is "A Billion Acts of Green" and we're asked, like recovering sinners, to reform our ways:  take our baths with less water, turn off the lights, spend less time on the computer, watch less TV, reduce our toilet paper consumption, and make a donation.  Getting an early start, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) observed Earth Day this past weekend (April 16-17) on the National Mall, with 40 exhibits.  As all this suggests, environmentalism has become our newest religion.

The hippie holiday.  Earth Day has become inextricably linked with global-warming mania.  Al Gore — a man with one of the largest carbon footprints in the world — recently likened the struggle to reduce emissions to the civil-rights movement.  This is in keeping with the sanctimonious tone that usually accompanies Earth Day proclamations.  To the radical greens, it's a day for humanity to engage in self-abasement, bow before the altar of Gaia and apologize for the offense against nature of simply being alive.  It's a day to conjure fears, preach limits and condemn the capitalist system that created a country wealthy enough to indulge these shiftless hippies in the first place.

Progressives Against Progress.  [Scroll down]  If one were to pick a point at which liberalism's extraordinary reversal began, it might be the celebration of the first Earth Day, in April 1970.  Some 20 million Americans at 2,000 college campuses and 10,000 elementary and secondary schools took part in what was the largest nationwide demonstration ever held in the United States.  The event brought together disparate conservationist, antinuclear, and back-to-the-land groups into what became the church of environmentalism, complete with warnings of hellfire and damnation.  Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, the founder of Earth Day, invoked "responsible scientists" to warn that "accelerating rates of air pollution could become so serious by the 1980s that many people may be forced on the worst days to wear breathing helmets to survive outdoors.

The Annual Green Orgy: Earth Day.  On Earth Day we will have been engulfed by the avalanche of "Green" propaganda that preceded it, fills the day, and then continues relentlessly thereafter.  When I say "propaganda", I am being polite.  Much of the foundation of the environmental movement is pure lies, mind boggling distortions of questionable "science", and a thin veneer for the entire purpose of environmentalism, the imposing of a one-world agenda for the enrichment of a few who dream of a monopolistic control of the world's resources and its human work force.

Environmentalism:  Freedom's Foe.  At the time of the first Earth Day in 1970, some young people, intimidated by the pace and complexity of modern life, were looking either to rebel or to retreat — to tear down "the System," or to withdraw to nature for a "Colorado Rocky Mountain high." ... [T]hey preached the inherent goodness of untouched nature and undisciplined emotion; the corrupting influence of reason, culture, and civilization; economic egalitarianism and small-scale participatory democracy; the mystical infallibility of the collective will and the sacrifice of the individual to the group.  And they were united in their hatred of a common enemy:  modern American, capitalistic society.

Earth Day Is a Holiday For Liars.  I have followed the apocalyptic claims and the legislated mandates of the environmental movement since the 1970s and their single unifying factor has been the lies told to achieve various elements the Green agenda. ... By blocking access to energy such as the ban on oil extraction in ANWR or off the coasts of the United States, by lobbying against the building of coal-fired and nuclear electricity generation plants, by arguing for inefficient, highly subsidized solar and wind alternatives, Greens are creating a national energy crisis.

The Earth Day before yesterday:  "Earth Day" [was founded] by former Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson.  It's also V.I. Lenin's birthday — which is no coincidence.  Nelson modeled his anti-capitalist protests after anti-Vietnam War demonstrations of that era.  Today, the so-called "environmental movement" he helped spawn has devolved from a gaggle of unwashed adolescent peaceniks into a slick cadre of leftists, lobbyists and lawyers.

The Naked Communism of Earth Day.  It is no accident that April 22, Earth Day, is also the birth date of Vladimir Lenin, an acolyte of Karl Marx, the lunatic who invented communism as an alternative to capitalism.  Earth Day is naked communism.  To begin, it substitutes a worship of the Earth, Gaia, for the worship of God, creator of the universe and the instructor of moral behavior for mankind.  The Earth does not demand a moral code of personal behavior.  Indeed, the lesson it teaches is "the survival of the fittest" and an indifference to suffering.

Earth Day: A Pro-Nature Movement or An Anti-Industrial Religion?  It's been 40 years since the first Earth Day protestors donned their bell bottoms and took over the streets to protest airplane exhaust, traffic, pollution, and litter.  These rallies on April 22, 1970 kicked off the modern environmental movement.  But, when did this quest to lend a hand to mother nature turn into a crusade against modern industry?

Dump Doomsday Dogma.  Earth Day turns 40 today, April 22, a good time for scientists, politicians, journalists and the public to dump climate-change orthodoxy.  Too many facts are interfering with the familiar story line.  The earth is getting warmer and the cause is modern industry.  Unless we curtail industry, and much other human activity, disaster is at hand in the form of catastrophic storms, sea-level rise, and global chaos.  This all comes billed as a matter of settled science, and alarmists have been comparing skeptics to Holocaust deniers.  But as the recent "Climategate" scandal revealed, the alarmists have problems of their own.

Earth hour:

Earth Hour:  A Dissent.  I abhor Earth Hour.  Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century.  Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.  Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores.  Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.  Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible.  The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.  Many of the world's poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung.  This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases. [...] The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity.  I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity.  Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness.

'Earth Hour': a celebration of ignorance, poverty, and backwardness.  All you have to do to participate in this annual self-imposed energy blackout is "Switch off your lights for an hour on Saturday, March 27, 2021, at 8:30 pm your local time."  Among the "20+ things you can do from the comfort of your home!" to celebrate Earth Hour tonight include:
  •   Switch off your lights.  This is the DNA of the Earth Hour movement and the easiest way to participate this Earth Hour.  Simply switch off all non-essential lights for an hour!  [What if you have essential lights?]
  •   Dinner-in-the-dark.  Get some candles ready and whip up healthy and delicious meals that will make your taste buds tingle!
  •   Have a night of board games or book readings in candle-light
  •   Try taking portraits of your family and friends in low-light or candle-light!
  •   Challenge your artistic side with a candle-lit paint night
There's just one problem with these candle-based activities to call attention to climate change, your carbon footprint, and fossil fuel dependency — most candles are made from paraffin wax, a byproduct of petroleum refining.  So turning off your electricity that was produced primarily by fossil fuels (coal and natural gas) and burning candles just substitutes one form of fossil fuel-based lighting for another one.  For Earth Hour purists, I recommend NO candle burning tonight!

The Editor says...
You should also refrain from using your cell phone for "candle" light, or for something to do during the hour of darkness, because you'll have to recharge your phone later, so you will save nothing.

Lights-out 'Earth Hour' is 60 minutes wasted.  Few cries for attention are less effective than turning off the lights and sitting in the dark for an hour.  Who can watch if they cannot see?  Nevertheless, the World Wide Fund for Nature is encouraging people around the world to honor, or celebrate, or mourn, or whatever, during "Earth Hour," Saturday night between 8:30 and 9:30.  The idea is to persuade everybody to renounce technology with the flick of a switch, raising "awareness" of the need for big government to rescue the globe, indeed even the universe, from the scourge of global warming.  A surprising number of businesses and organizations have bought into the scheme.

An Hour of Darkness. Or Light!  Earth Hour is a protest against the use of electricity — energy — to light our lives in countless ways.  Anyone who has gone through an outage as I did in the wake of Hurricane Sandy will tell you that life without electricity is an immediate return to primitive times.  Mine lasted a week and included the loss of access to the Internet and the ability to use my computer and every other piece of equipment in the apartment.  It was not fun.

The Darkness of Earth Hour.  Earth Hour shows how far we have come from celebrating human accomplishment to celebrating the lack of accomplishment as an accomplishment.  For all the pretense of activism, environmentalism celebrates inaction.  Don't build, don't create and don't do — are its mandates.  Turn off the lights and feel good about how much you aren't doing right now.  Environmentalism has degenerated into a conviction that all human activity is destructive because the species of man is the greatest threat to the planet and all life on it.

Earth Hour Is a Colossal Waste of Time — And Energy.  The organizers say that they are providing a way to demonstrate one's desire to "do something" about global warming.  But the reality is that Earth Hour teaches all the wrong lessens, and it actually increases CO2 emissions.  Its vain symbolism reveals exactly what is wrong with today's feel-good environmentalism.

Doing the right things for the wrong reasons is a serious mistake.  Earth Hour is yet another symbol of how climate activists have hijacked the environmental movement," said Tom Harris, executive director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC) which is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada.  "Most people do not realize that, when they turn out their lights for sixty minutes on March 31, they are not supporting science-based environmental protection.  Participants in Earth Hour are unwittingly helping prop up one of the most threatening scientific hoaxes in history — the idea that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from human activities are known to be causing dangerous global warming and other problematic climate change."

Earth Hour challenged by Human Achievement Hour.  Earth Hour, the annual event that turns off lights as a statement for cleaner energy, marks its fifth year this Saturday [3/31/2012].  But a free-market think tank is trying to get some traction with its alternative:  the Human Achievement Hour, when people are encouraged to leave lights on to show their appreciation for inventions "and the recognition that future solutions require individual freedom not government coercion."

Al Gore's seawater swindle.  [Scroll down]  According to the Montreal Gazette, power usage in Edmonton, Canada, actually increased by 1.01 percent during Earth Hour.  Power usage did drop in Calgary, but as a power company spokesman explained, the drop "was so minuscule that it couldn't even be attributed to that particular event."  As more of the cataclysmic predictions of the global-warming charlatans fail to pan out, these feel-good stunts will become more and more irrelevant.  That's good news because Earth Hour is about hating automobiles and electricity, two of mankind's most important technological developments.

Sitting in the Dark.  Forget the World's Fair, we now have a new way to celebrate human accomplishment.  Instead of going to see a vision of the future, we turn off the lights and sit in the dark for an hour.  Earth Hour shows how far we have come from celebrating human accomplishment to celebrating the lack of accomplishment.  For all its pretentious activism, environmentalism is a movement that promotes inaction.  Don't build, don't create and don't do — are its commandments.

Hour of no power increases emissions.  When asked to extinguish electricity, people turn to candlelight.  Candles seem natural, but are almost 100 times less efficient than incandescent light globes, and more than 300 times less efficient than fluorescent lights.  If you use one candle for each extinguished globe, you're essentially not cutting CO2 at all, and with two candles you'll emit more CO2.  Moreover, candles produce indoor air pollution 10 to 100 times the level of pollution caused by all cars, industry and electricity production.

Global warming worriers feel heat of hypocrisy.  It's Earth Hour tomorrow [3/28/2009], warming worriers — your chance to prove how much you don't care.  For a start, you'll prove how much you don't care about being a hypocrite.

No Drop in Electricity Usage in NY and CA at Earth Hour.  The Greenies did not convince the average liberal New Yorkers and Californians to turn off their lights at the appointed Earth Hour of 8:30 PM local time.  By looking at real time data in New York and California, there was no drop in electric usage.

Does lighting candles for Earth Hour defeat the purpose?  During Earth Hour, what will most participants use for illumination?  Candles. ... All these burning wicks raise the question:  Are the emissions from these candles worse for the climate than simply leaving the lights on?  After all, candles emit carbon dioxide too.

The Stupidity, Futility, and Fantasy of "Earth Hour":  Let us forget, for a moment, that "Earth Hour" is a pointless exercise serving only to make environmentalists feel better about themselves by marginally reducing electrical demand for 0.01% of the year.  Let us disregard, for a moment, that the basic reason for having an "Earth Hour" in the first place is fatuous, because global warming alarmism has as much to do with actual science as alchemy does. ... Indeed, a sober analysis suggests that "Earth Hour" doesn't do anything to save a planet that doesn't need saving and that it may in fact rather increase air pollution instead of reducing it.

Earth Hour:  Verging on the Occult.  If previous Earth Hours are any indication, this Saturday's annual ritual will possess a curious blend of contradictory properties.  Switching off the lights for an hour will have little effect on climate change, practical or symbolic, yet it will likely follow the established trend of growing participation each year.  All good contradictions deserve an explanation, but the most likely ones in this case don't bode well for our Western liberal Enlightenment tradition.

Inconvenient questions:  With the fourth global Earth Hour put to bed last night, today let's ask some inconvenient questions of the global warmists.  First, does the real-world failure of virtually all of your ideas ever give you a moment's pause?  From the fiasco in Copenhagen, to the collapse of the UN's Kyoto accord, with its absurd, unrealistic, centrally-mandated, carbon dioxide-reduction diktats, mindful of the old Soviet Union?  Does it never occur to you you've barked up the wrong tree rings?  What about the humiliation of Climategate?

Reality of ooga-booga Earth Hour.  Switch off your lights ... and you've saved the planet.  Have a dance, and you've made poverty history.  Walk over a bridge, and you've ended Aboriginal suffering.  Or, you can do all three at once — dance on a dark bridge — and usher in Paradise itself.

The "smart" power grid:

Peak vs average demand
The peak demand problem that software can't fix.  In the energy world, one of the most vexing problems is in optimally matching electricity supply and demand.  [Chart]  Here the data show that society and the electricity-consuming services that people like are generating a growing gap between peaks and valleys of demand.  The net effect for a hydrocarbon-free grid will be to increase the need for batteries to meet those peaks.

The Biggest Junk Science of 2018.  [#9] Electricity Customers Complain About Dangers From Wireless "Smart Meters."  Utilities across the country are installing "smart meters" in millions of homes in order to futurize America's aging electrical grid, but in North Carolina, thousands of people claimed "sensitivity" to radio-frequency waves was giving them headaches, ear-ringing, and "brain fog."  Such sensitivity to smart meters is not realistic according to the laws of physics, a fact recognized by the American Cancer Society, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences.  Nevertheless, North Carolinians are now permitted to opt out of their smart meters thanks to a decision made this summer by the N.C. Utilities Commission.

A botnet of smart irrigation systems can deplete a city's water supply.  Ben-Gurion University of the Negev cyber security researchers warn of a potential distributed attack against urban water services that uses a botnet of smart irrigation systems that water simultaneously.  The researchers analyzed and found vulnerabilities in a number of commercial smart irrigation systems, which enable attackers to remotely turn watering systems on and off at will.

Judges:  Smart Meters are 4th Amendment 'Search'.  Privacy and health activists long have raised opposition to smart meters — the technological wizards that monitor power usage in a home, sometimes on a minute-by-minute basis, and report it to the utility that owns them.  And sometimes others.  Now an appeals court has affirmed that their readings constitute a "search" under the Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which establishes "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures."  But the judges also found that the "search" that was done by the devices was "reasonable."  Whether the judgment is rendered in future cases regarding the use of the meters, oftentimes mandated by the utility, remains to be seen.

California Wants to Reinvent the Power Grid.  So What Could Go Wrong?  Two decades ago, when California deregulated the delivery of electric power, lawmakers, regulators and even some environmentalists hailed the decision as a way to lower consumers' bills.  The strategy proved disastrous.  The plan resulted in an energy crisis that sent power bills soaring, prompted billions in penalties against utilities and banks for manipulating the new electricity market, and led Congress to enact laws to help prevent it all from happening again.  Now the state's leaders have a new proposal for an energy makeover, this time to create a single authority to manage the electric grid for most or all of the West.  This plan, too, promises to cut costs for consumers — by as much as $1.5 billion a year — while helping to bolster use of carbon-free power sources.

Dumb Energy.  The core characteristic of wind and solar is that they are erratic sources of electricity.  The supply is randomly intermittent. [...] The wind and solar promoters, in order to accommodate their dumb energy, demand that the electric grid be re-engineered to become a "smart" grid.  Perhaps the idea is that if the grid is smart enough, the dumb energy will be canceled by the smart grid.  That's actually what the smart grid people have in mind.  The smart grid is supposed to be agile enough to fill in the gaps when the wind or solar is playing hooky.

The smart grid has its drawbacks:
Automatic Circuit Reclosers Probed as Potential Cause of California Fires.  Wind-swept fires that killed more than 40 people in California in recent months have also jolted the state's biggest utilities, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE).  The utilities have had to work around the clock to keep power flowing to fire-afflicted communities, even as their equipment and policies face scrutiny as potential contributors to the deadly fires.  California regulators, politicians and trial lawyers are querying SCE and PG&E's tree trimming and line maintenance — common culprits in prior California fires — but they are also examining a utility device that produces sparks by design:  automatic circuit reclosers.  Automatic reclosers are pole-mounted circuit breakers that can quickly restore power after outages, but they can also multiply the fire risk from damaged lines.

'Confusion and resistance' slows down UK smart meter rollout.  Lack of consumer engagement, insufficient information, and inadequate attention to vulnerability has slowed down the UK rollout of energy smart meters, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Sussex.  The £11 billion smart meter programme, which is supported by a £100-million marketing campaign, has not met its targets due to consumer apathy and confusion, especially in the case of vulnerable people, say the researchers.  The UK government planned to install smart meters in every home by 2020 to reduce national household energy consumption by 5-15%, and thereby help meet the UK's climate change targets.

Obama Has Little To Show For His Lavish Spending On Roads, Green Energy And E-Cars.  Obama pushed aggressively for a "smart electric grid," that could better manage electricity use.  But a 2016 report from the Manhattan Institute finds that this push has also made the nation's power grid more vulnerable to cyberattack.  "The push for 'greener' and 'smarter' grids requires far greater grid-Internet connectivity to ensure the continuous delivery of electricity," notes the report's author, Mark Mills.  "These greener, smarter grids will involve a vast expansion of the Internet of Things that greatly increases the cyberattack surface available to malicious hackers and hostile nation-state entities."

Your smart meter is very secure (against you) and very insecure (against hackers).  The meters are designed to treat their owners as attackers:  you are your smart meter's adversary, because if you could control it, you could use it to defraud the power company about your electricity usage.  As a result, the physical security of smart meters is very good.  But the corollary of this adversarial relationship is that your meter's networked insecurities are, by design, impossible for you to remedy or override.

Why Light Bulbs May Be the Next Hacker Target.  Researchers report in a paper that they have uncovered a flaw in a wireless technology that is often included in smart home devices like lights, switches, locks, thermostats and many of the components of the much-ballyhooed "smart home" of the future.  The researchers focused on the Philips Hue smart light bulb and found that the wireless flaw could allow hackers to take control of the light bulbs, according to researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science near Tel Aviv and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada.

The Great Smart Meter Con.  In the cross hairs of an attack are smart meters, digital devices that replace traditional automated utility meters at individual homes and businesses.  Like their conventional cousins, smart meters measure electric power usage, and some record gas and/or water use, too. [...] But the other side of the coin, opponents say, is that government can spy on and ration your energy use by means of these digital meters.  During the 2015 California drought, for example, bureaucrats used them "to catch citizens consuming more than their government-approved water rations," as Alex Newman reported for The New American.  In what amounted to warrantless search and collection of data, Long Beach Water Department General Manager Kevin Wattier bragged, "We are using it specifically for an enforcement tool to go after those customers who we've gotten lots of complaints about," and to fine them for using more than their "fair share" of water.

Hackers could throw off our power grid by manipulating our AC units.  Ingenuity isn't exactly a quality you want in hackers, unless of course, they're on your side.  In a rather terrifying discovery, researchers have found an alarming vulnerability in our security system, and it's one that can be found in most American homes and offices — the air conditioner.  Power grid failures, a topic of great consternation in movies and in real life, would pose a serious problem on a large scale, and as computer hacking and digital warfare grow more advanced, security personnel are looking into some unconventional methods by which certain breaches might occur.

The Editor says...
Hijacking every air conditioner in town in order to cripple the power grid is not a problem.  Keep your air conditioner (and your refrigerator) disconnected from the internet.  Or hide it behind a firewall.  The grid can be overloaded, but this isn't a way to do it.

Smart Meters Used as Law Enforcement Tools.  Opponents of Smart Meters have argued for years that they are monitoring devices that can be used to control home appliances.  Finally, in 2012, NBC ran a report admitting that Smart Meters can indeed spy on households and their activities.  While this article referred to a German manufacturer, similar uses are being reported.  Perhaps what is most disturbing is the ready sacceptance the media and many individuals have to being monitored.

What "Smart Meters" are really all about.  "Smart meters" aren't about saving power; they're about government control.  Witness the latest from Johannesburg, South Africa where authorities are pleading with residents "not to panic" when power is shut off to households that are consuming more than their fair share of electricity.

City Power pleads with residents not to panic.  "City Power has started to roll out a solution called load limiting in its areas of supply in Johannesburg and households have been advised to reduce their consumption by switching off non-essential items such as geysers, stoves and pool pumps when they experience disconnections to ensure a steady supply," City Power said in a statement issued on Sunday [7/19/2015].  Load Limiting is a technology that enables City Power to accurately identify and ascertain household consumption in real time in relation to the available generating capacity.

Governor Moonbeam Regulates Bathroom Activities.  Changing behavior is what liberal fascists are all about.  For them change — specifically, coerced change — is an end in itself.  Stalin figured it out long ago:  control food, control people.  But Democrats are doing him one better.  Control water, control food production and people.  How will the authorities know if you took too long in the shower?  One way is if your neighbors rat you out, just as in any other police state.  Another is the smart meter: [...]

Ontario's Green Energy Subsidies — some of what we know.  We know industrial wind energy developers were given lucrative 20-year contracts and paid to produce electricity guaranteeing 13.5[¢]/kWh no matter the time of day power was generated.  We know that industrial wind energy developers were given 20-year contracts that included a cost of living benefit up to 20%.  We know industrial solar under the feed-in-tariff (FIT) program paid contracted parties, e.g., IKEA, the Township of Markham, etc., over 70 cents/kWh for generation, while those same companies/municipalities purchased power for their use at the same rate as the rest of us.  We ordinary customers pick up the tab for the difference.  We know that the Office of the Auditor General (AG) on two different occasions clearly noted the Ontario government failed to conduct a cost/benefit analysis for just about everything associated with the Ministry of Energy's portfolio.  We know "smart meters" cost us about $2 billion but failed to produce any meaningful benefit other than allowing local distribution companies to bill us on a time-of-use basis.  We know energy costs have doubled since 2003.

Smart grid powers up privacy worries.  The next Big Data threat to our privacy may come from the electricity we consume in our homes.  "Smart" online power meters are tracking energy use — and that data may soon be worth more than the electricity they distribute.

Chinese Threat To U.S. Power Grid Closer Than Thought.  As severe as U.S. national security problems are with the militarily resurgent Russia and China, an unguarded southern border and an increasingly barbarous, terrorist Middle East, the stealthy speeding shark under the water's surface may well be the Chinese cyberthreat.  Rogers warned the House Intelligence Committee this week that China and "one or two other nations," after performing constant "reconnaissance" missions on U.S. utility companies, were now in a position to blow out our power grid.  It would be an act of war that would leave the U.S. powerless to retaliate and, worse still, powerless to identify the perpetrators.

60 new state privacy laws in last 12 months.  Utilities in California are restricted in secondary uses of customer data in so-called smart grid technology, which allows precise pricing based on usage.  This is the first such law in the nation.

"Demand-side management": Blackouts by another name.  In a recent speech Ed Davey announced that energy intensive companies would be paid to switch off their machinery during times of high demand.  As many have noted, this not what happens in healthy energy markets.  Although this policy is called 'demand-side management', jargon does not disguise what is still a blackout.

The Future Electric Grid.  It was only a little more than ten years ago that a National Academy of Engineering report ranked the invention of the electric grid at the top of a list of the 20 greatest inventions of the 20th century.  Not just one of the great engineering achievements, but first amongst them.  The Academy ranked the Internet 13th.  Now we hear increasingly that technology is making today's electric utility model "obsolete" and will put its companies into a "death spiral."  Is it possible that so much has changed so quickly?  Post-utility advocates point to three technologies as disrupters:  photovoltaics (PV), batteries, and smart or micro grids.

Com Ed's Smart Meters Poke Holes In Privacy Walls.  With the failure of Cap-and-Trade legislation, so-called smart meters (representing a power takeover), are being forced upon consumers by electric utilities, including Illinois' ComEd, as just another technology that will achieve government-sponsored extortion of American citizens.  It was in 2009 that the U.S. government allocated $11B of taxpayer funds from the 2009 bailout package to develop a "smart" grid, including "smart" meters for every home's electricity, gas and water.  Accordingly, smart meters have now become an integral part of the infrastructure to implement U.N. Agenda 21, the resulting document of the 1992 Rio Conference in Brazil (Informal name:  The Earth Summit), whose principal themes are the environment and sustainable development.

Illinois Electricity Customers Forced to Get 'Smart Meters' or Pay Fine.  [Scroll down]  The New York Times reported in December 2009 that many customers in California were in "open revolt" over the nearly 4 million new meters already installed by the utility company Pacific Gas & Electric because they claimed the meters were running too fast and charging them for energy they hadn't used.  One meticulous customer interviewed by the Times compared her usage for the month July 2008, before the meter was installed, to July 2009.  She found her recorded usage jumped from 474 kilowatt-hours to 646 kilowatt-hours.  Her bill was more than $20 higher.  Another customer saw an even bigger jump in 2009, from 236 kilowatt-hours to 791 kilowatt-hours.

EPA Wants Gov't To Control How Cold Your Beer Can Be.  In a seemingly innocuous revision of its Energy Star efficiency requirements announced June 27, the Environmental Protection Agency included an "optional" requirement for a "smart-grid" connection for customers to electronically connect their refrigerators or freezers with a utility provider.  The feature lets the utility provider regulate the appliances' power consumption, "including curtailing operations during more expensive peak-demand times."  So far, manufacturers are not required to include the feature, only "encouraged," and consumers must still give permission to turn it on.

Chicago Suburb Arrests Mothers for Refusing Energy Meters.  In Naperville, IL, two mothers were arrested last week for refusing to allow utility workers to install controversial smart meters on their homes.  The city's new Naperville Smart Grid Initiative requires new controversial smart meters to be installed in every home.  Residents opposed to the smart meters have been fighting the initiative for over two years.

Insight Into Smart Meters.  The hype surrounding the smart grid has resulted in smart meters being equated with the smart grid.  Smart meters can improve certain aspects of the distribution system, and can play a very limited role in efficiently managing the grid, but they do not comprise the major components of, what is referred to as the smart grid.  The mystique surrounding the smart grid is being used to entice the public into supporting expensive modifications to the grid, many of which are unnecessary except for integrating intermittent, unreliable renewables.

National power-grid tech blueprints 'stolen by Chinese hackers'.  An espionage attack on Telvent — the maker of power-grid control systems and smart meters — has been linked to a prolific Chinese hacking crew.  Telvent, a division of Schneider Electric, has admitted hackers breached its corporate network, implanted malicious software and lifted sensitive project files.  The raid spanned Telvent systems in the US, Canada and Spain according to a letter sent to the company's customers this month.  Criminals can now study the documents for vulnerabilities in the systems, and potentially devise attacks to sabotage nations' electricity distribution networks.

Smart meter or no power at all.  [Scroll down]  Doesn't Nevada have an 'opt out' choice?  Angel says "Nevada residents only won the right to be placed on the 'delay list', not a full 'opt out'."  In other words, if you wised up before the installation trucks came and still have your analog, NVE has a 'delay list' you can sign to 'delay' your installation date.  But if the power company managed to sneak on your property and install a smart meter — even without permission — then your choice is a smart meter or no power at all, as Mona discovered.  Even if you have a letter from your doctor, the power company apparently thinks it knows best what's good for you.

We Are All Being Exposed [To An] Avoidable Health Hazard .  The powerlines were designed to transmit electricity.  They are using broadband, Dsl, Wi-Fi, wired, unwired, Sat, cell; whatever they choose to use because they have many options on how to operate the Smart Grid Network.  The noise is a by-product of the Radio Frequency interference, radiation and dirty power riding on the wires and radiating through every outlet in to your home, school and workplace.

"Smart Meter" Hearing in Texas Draws Crowds Seeking Opt-out.  Hundreds of activists showed up at a hearing about so-called "smart meters" held by the Texas Public Utility Commission this week, with most of them seeking a way to opt-out from receiving one of the controversial electricity meters that critics link to serious privacy and health concerns.  A Republican member of the state legislature even promised that if the PUC refused to allow consumers a choice, he would introduce legislation to force its hand.  The federally backed meters have long been a source of controversy and criticism in Texas, which has rolled out millions of the devices in recent years and is reportedly almost 90 percent finished with its state-wide installation scheme.

In Australia:
Smart meter data shared far and wide.  Detailed information about electricity customers' power usage, which gives insights into when a house is occupied, is being shared with third parties including mail houses, debt collectors, data processing analysts and government agencies.

Smart Meters: A Dumb Idea.  Smart meters are expensive devices that allow electric companies to track and control electricity usage in an individual household.  Consumers are skeptical that they are worth the $5.4 billion California utilities are charging for them.  Are the meters supposed to save electricity?  No.  Smart meters merely track electric usage, just like their older, dumber predecessors.

Smart Meter Privacy.  Smart meters are designed to collect — and transmit — "real time" energy usage, meaning they update your utility constantly, like a Facebook or Twitter page about how much power you use.  Smart meter collect and transmit an enormous amount of your personal information, with few protections to keep your private information private.

I do not like this, Uncle Sam, I do not like the GO GREEN Scam.  [Scroll down]  What most people have avoided discussing is the fact that the power grid is very vulnerable to disruptions and "catastrophic failure," particularly the Smart Grid.  Currently, not everyone is attached to the Smart Grid because the Smart Meters installation has not been completed.  Some citizens who know what Smart Meters are and do, reject them on the basis of intrusion into their lives without a search warrant; health issues from constant radiation, and loss of control to the power company to shut off electricity during peaks of consumption, usually very hot and very cold days.  The federal government has given utilities hundreds of billions of dollars to install Smart Meters.

The Death of Privacy by Bits and Bytes.  "The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them" is attributed to V. Lenin.  Fast-forward to the "digital everything" age, and the 21st-century equivalent is coming to us via the "smart meter" and "smart grid" of your electrical energy provider.  In this case, your personal privacy is going to be hung out and left twisting in the wind via the invasion of smart-chip-equipped appliances into your home communicating with your smart meter and beyond.  These chips never sleep and are able to note your usage of electrical power moment-to-moment, be it via your computer, washing machine, dish washer, heat pump, or electric toothbrush.

Smart Meters and Energy Efficiency.  Smart meters are being promoted as a key part of a strategy for improving energy efficiency.  Some utilities, such as Commonwealth Edison, have sold state legislatures a bill of goods so that utilities can charge customers for installing smart meters.  Whether smart meters can improve energy efficiency is questionable, but they do save utilities money.

What is a Smart Meter?  A smart meter is an advanced meter that can identify consumption of a utility product and communicates this information to a utility for monitoring and billing.  Transmitting smart meters are being installed nationwide on gas, water, and electrical services, driven in part by funding for the Smart Grid Program approved as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Smart meters enable consumers to go online and see how their energy consumption changes as they turn off lights, turn down their heat or make other energy saving measures.  They can operate with wireless microwave radiation, broadband over powerlines, or wired communications. Most smart meters deployed in the United States are wireless.

Restructuring Electric Power Grid for 'Clean Energy'.  In a Mar. 16 memorandum, Energy Secretary Steven Chu outlined plans to change the long-standing public-private management of the nation's hydroelectric distribution operations in an effort to advance the Obama administration's green energy agenda, critics charged on Thursday [4/26/2012].  The memo was the focus of a hearing of the House Committee on Natural Resources to examine Chu's plan, which includes centralizing oversight of the electric power grid to the federal government and setting rates based on criteria that would benefit wind, solar and other "renewable" energies.

Our rights, metered.  Power companies in Vermont have officially declared war on the privacy and wellbeing of their customers.  In a rollout largely funded by a massive Department of Energy stimulus grant, Vermont's electricity utilities have begun replacing standard, analog meters with wireless models known as "smart meters."  While such a technological upgrade may at first glance seem benign, these new meters in fact threaten our health, our privacy and the very values on which this country was founded.  Once your home's analog meters have been replaced, these new, wireless-enabled meters begin tracking your electricity usage in granular detail.

Smart Meters: The Big Brother of Our Day.  Smart meters are designed to decrease peak demand for electricity by turning off electricity to customers by remote.  Remotely controlled thermostats will also turn off air conditioning units.  HVAC contractors are required to install programmable thermostats on all systems in areas where city officials have inspection authority created by city councils.  Thermostats can be overridden by the smart meter so that a home's temperature can also be remotely controlled.  RFID tracking tags will be gradually installed in all items purchased, including digital thermostats.  Non-digital thermostats cannot be tracked and will thus be banned.

American Academy of Environmental Medicine's position on Smart Meters.  The Board of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine opposes the installation of wireless "smart meters" in homes and schools based on a scientific assessment of the current medical literature.  Chronic exposure to wireless radio frequency radiation is a preventable environmental hazard that is sufficiently well documented to warrant immediate preventative public health action.

The Editor says...
I doubt if smart meters transmit RF signals over the air, since they are obviously connected to the power company's facilities by wires.  Even if they do transmit data through radio signals, those signals are most likely triggered by a meter reader out in the street, and the duration is just long enough to send the current kWh total and peak demand numbers.  I don't have any inside knowledge of the electric power industry, but based on my experience in RF communications, that would be my guess.  And in any event, most of the people who seem to be so upset about the issue of RF exposure are probably carrying cell phones wherever they go.

Do President Obama and his fellow Democrats seriously believe that "government should not intrude on private family matters?"  Let us count the ways!
Obama's Government vs. Your Family:  [Scroll down]  If you have a large family, or one with a lot of computers and other electronic equipment, you probably use more electricity than your neighbors, and are willing to pay for it.  But in many communities, there is a sliding scale for usage, so that if you consume, say, 20% more electricity than your neighbors, you pay a 40% higher bill.  This is because liberals believe it is their business how we live, and how much power we consume.

Household Electricity Bills Skyrocket.  Electric bills have skyrocketed in the last five years, a sharp reversal from a quarter-century when Americans enjoyed stable power bills even as they used more electricity.  Households paid a record $1,419 on average for electricity in 2010, the fifth consecutive yearly increase above the inflation rate, a USA TODAY analysis of government data found.  The jump has added about $300 a year to what households pay for electricity.

Smart Meter Removal Has Begun.  California's Investor Owned Utilities (IOUs) has quietly begun replacing Smart Meters with analog meters for citizens reporting adverse health effects.  Consumer rights and other groups demanded immediately that their wireless devices be removed from their homes.  Joshua Hart of reported the good news just as PG&E deploys the last phase of its smart meters in California.  The Department of Energy's promise that the smart grid and smart meters will lower electricity costs has proven incorrect; on the contrary, the utility costs have skyrocketed.

Beware the Smart Electric Meter — It's Coming for YOU!  Many electric companies have installed "Smart Meters" on homes all over the country, and they plan to do the same with every house in America, including yours.  These nifty little electronic wonders track when you turn something on or off, and how many watts your appliances pull. ... The data they collect shows the electric company a variety of things like when you're at home, sleeping, on vacation, or have visitors.  They can see when you turn on your computer, have a cake in the oven, or if you may be running a business out of your home.  In short, it gets inside your home and monitors your living patterns.

The Non-Energy Generating Department of Energy and the Smart Grid.  Smart Meters are digital electricity consumption readers that are installed under the guise that the old ones are either cracked or not reading properly.  Most people acquiesce, without realizing that they have just allowed the installation of a personal surveillance device.  This device will tell a distant data server to whom they do not have access, how many watts they consume, when they turn off and on every lamp in their home, how many computers they have, electric gadgets, when they sleep, when they are on vacation, when they are not home, their living pattern in general, basically a search of their life and home without a warrant.

Smart Meters: Big Brother Has Arrived.  I've heard of these Marxist monitoring devices and was wondering when they'd begin arriving in my town.  So, I stepped outside last night to take a look.  I was quite surprised at what I found attached to the side of my home.  First thing in the morning I was shooting video of what I found.  I suggest you take a look around your home as well.

The "Smart" Meters Cometh.  The last thing I really want is someone, sitting in a remote room somewhere, deciding if and when I have used too much.  While some would chalk up such fear on my part to paranoia, I would like to remind those foolish enough to do so that over the past century many, many things people feared government and their agents might indeed do to strip us of our liberties have indeed come to pass.  Not all, but many.  I would really like to keep my current, "dumb" meter if you do not mind.

Smart Grid:  The Second Biggest Rip-Off in Contemporary Energy Policy.  Ask anyone what a "smart grid" is, and you'll get a different answer every time.  In Boulder, it's a fiber optical network.  In Baltimore, it's a "ZigBee" local area network.  In Oklahoma City, it's GE Smart Meters.  They all were spawned of the stimulus, which showered more than $3 billion to utilities across the country to subsidize any boondoggle that called itself "smart grid."  This is the sort of social policy that makes regulated utilities salivate.  It's ill-defined and capital intensive.

Smart meters are a dumb idea.  Homeowners from coast to coast are growing upset over the "smart meter" devices that utilities are foisting on them by the millions, with the full backing of the administration. ... Smart meters also give the highly regulated utilities the ability to adjust and restrict the flow of electricity to customers.  Some residents are wary that the ability to measure their energy consumption could be used to create a profile of their activities.  Patterns of garage door opening, for example, could indicate when a home is empty and unprotected from burglary.  In California and Texas, other consumers have seen their electric bills rise rather than fall after smart meter installation, belying the promise of savings.

Washington Set to Control Your Light Switch.  Smart Grid sounds harmless and modern, but it will be incredibly intrusive.  Appliances in the future will have microchips installed; when you plug them in, they will handshake with the grid, and a central authority will determine whether that appliance deserves to get power or not.  If a bureaucrat in Washington decides that it's not hot enough for you to put on the air conditioner, your air conditioner will not work.  If the Fed decides that Margaritas lead to too much trouble on Cinco de Mayo, all blenders can be disabled for the day.  They can also turn off radios, televisions and computers.  In the era of electronic information, restricting the freedom of the press is as easy as turning off the light.  The idea is to conserve power, but a Smart Government will be able to use the technology to retain power as well.

What's so smart about 'smart meters?'  Maybe it's just me, but there is something unsettling about having a smart meter tracking my power consumption.  Will there come a day when excessive power usage will be treated as a crime?  Who will determine what is excessive? ... Finding ways for more and more people to use less energy doesn't seem very smart to me.  Why not expand our energy production to meet our growing needs[?]

Nashville Residents' Energy Bills Could Rise Soon.  Older meters are getting replaced one by one with newer digital meters.  NES said the digital ones are more efficient, but some customers who already have the new meter say it isn't as efficient for their bottom line.

Smart-grid hackers could cause blackouts.  Deployments of smart grids should be slowed until security vulnerabilities are addressed, according to some cybersecurity experts, citing tests showing that a hacker can cause a major blackout after breaking into a smart-grid system.

"Smart Grids" & Monitoring Your Power Use.  [Scroll down]  The "Smart Grid" is, for the most part, not about getting power to consumers, but about monitoring and controlling that power once it reaches its destination. ... Whereas present electric meters simply measure the total power consumption of a home or business, "smart" meters will collect far more specific information on power usage.  As Bob Sullivan at the Red Tape Chronicles observed regarding the "Smart Grid," the tale your new electric meter will be able to tell about your life and habits may be of interest to criminals and other people with an inclination to snoop on you.

What will talking power meters say about you?  Would you sign up for a discount with your power company in exchange for surrendering control of your thermostat?  What if it means that, one day, your auto insurance company will know that you regularly arrive home on weekends at 2:15 a.m., just after the bars close?  Welcome to the complex world of the Smart Grid, which may very well pit environmental concerns against thorny privacy issues.

Obama energy official has ties to firms that stand to benefit.  A top Obama administration official who's helping lead a campaign for energy conservation has a major financial interest in two companies that are poised to benefit from the government's spending.  Cathy Zoi, the assistant secretary of energy for energy efficiency and renewable energy, owns between $250,000 and $500,000 worth of stock in Landis+Gyr, a Swiss-based manufacturer of special electric meters that are used to create an efficient "smart" grid of electricity use.

Related material:
Time-Of-Day Electricity Pricing:  Most consumers don't know it, but the overnight price for electricity at wholesale can be practically zero.  Utilities and other power producers are sometimes actually forced to pay industrial consumers to use electricity in the early-morning hours — because it's too expensive to shut down power plants at night.  With time-of-day pricing, consumers would be encouraged to alter their habits — running the dishwasher at night, for example — and pounce on such bargains, while evening out demand.

Dallas may be among the first cities to get "smart" electric meters.
Broadband over power lines plan is dead in Dallas.  An ambitious plan for using power lines to deliver fast Internet service to 2 million Dallas-area homes collapsed Thursday [5/8/2008], when Oncor agreed to buy the system.  Current Communications said it will sell its so-called smart grid of networking equipment to the utility for $90 million. ... Here in Dallas, residents should still be among the first in the nation to see how much smart grids can improve power networks.

Power to the People.  Using taxpayer-subsidized solar power panels as a backdrop, President Obama recently announced another $3.4B in taxpayer subsidies to help upgrade the nation's electrical power grid.  The spending includes "smart meters" that theoretically could be used by bribable government officials to throttle back power to the homes of unsupportive constituents.  Not that they actually would engage in such despicable extortion, of course... Okay, maybe in Chicago.  And Detroit.

Meters prove not so smart.  They promised smart would be cheap, but so far it's proving more expensive.  Most Toronto Hydro customers who've been on smart meters and time-of-use (TOU) pricing the longest have actually seen an increase of up to $3 per month.  The cost of the meter itself also adds an extra $3-$4 a month to local utility bills.

National Smart Grid To Transition To More Green Energy Use.  The National Broadband Plan, recently published by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), would lay the groundwork for the federal government to establish a nationwide "smart" electrical grid that would change how Americans use and pay for electricity, affecting such things as homes and transportation with battery-powered cars.

PG&E details technical problems with SmartMeters.  After months of denying any technical problems with its SmartMeter program, PG&E publicly detailed a range of glitches Monday [4/26/2010] affecting tens of thousands of the digital meters.  But the San Francisco-based utility said it had found just eight meters that inaccurately reported a customer's energy use, despite thousands of complaints from customers who say the new meters have overcharged them.

Myths Associated with the 'Smart' Electrical Grid.  There is no national "grid."  And a "smart" grid will not "vastly improve" electric power generation or efficiency.

The Smart Grid Trojan Horse.  [Scroll down]  In truth, the [Smart Grid] initiative is but a collection of programs captured in the form of federal standards that separately and jointly advance the Green agenda without raising many eyebrows.  The first effort involves replacing conventional electric meters with Smart Meters.  Smart Meters are key, because they can be programmed to total your energy consumption by time-of-day (among other sophisticated capabilities).  This feature facilitates the application of Time-of-Use (TOU) billing tariffs, euphemistically called "dynamic pricing" in marketing circles.

SmartGridCity pilot project in Boulder won't be repeated or expanded.  SmartGridCity — the $45 million Boulder-based smart-grid experiment — will not be repeated or expanded, David Eves, chief executive of Xcel Energy's Public Service Co. of Colorado, said Monday [8/23/2010].  In the past two years, the projected cost of SmartGridCity, a pilot program designed to better manage electricity distribution and give consumers detailed information about their usage, nearly tripled to $44.8 million.

Probes Find Energy Meters Accurate, Service Lacking.  A four-month investigation spurred by a surge in energy-bill complaints found new smart meters installed in Northern California by PG&E Corp. are accurately measuring energy use.  But the probe found that some utilities are falling down in the way they handle customer complaints and monitor data transmitted by the new digital meters.

Marin County Votes to Ban Smart Meters.  Smart meters allow electric companies to monitor electricity use remotely on an hour-by-hour basis.  This allows the electric company to more efficiently match production with real-time demand and set electricity prices that respond to demand patterns.  Power companies and some environmental groups have long been intrigued by the potential for smart meters to induce people to use less power during peak demand hours.

Nest Thermostat Is Part HAL.  Without going into the hyperbole surrounding the device, the simple explanation is that it is the home heating and cooling thermostat-equivalent of a smartphone.

Geo-thermal energy:

Could A Volcano Power America?  An ambitious experiment is underway to harness the heat of a volcano in central Oregon.  The process is green, efficient... and causes earthquakes.

Hydroelectric, Tidal, and Geo-thermal energy sources.  [Scroll down]  Some of the Greens already hate hydroelectric and for certain they would hate geothermal if they knew the type of facilities that it would entail.  But even with the more radical characters aside hydroelectric and geothermal are very site specific.  One cannot generate new mountains laden with running water nor can a geothermal anomaly with prolific hot water or steam reservoirs can be made to order.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with either hydroelectric or geothermal but they happen where they happen and cannot be manufactured anywhere else.  Regarding tidal energy, this has been just talk for at least forty years, an academic exercise with little relation to implementation reality.

Lights go dim on another energy project.  A geothermal energy company with a $98.5 million loan guarantee from the Obama administration for an alternative energy project in Nevada — which received hearty endorsements from Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid — faces financial problems, and the company's auditors have questioned whether it can stay in business.  Much like Solyndra LLC, a California solar-panel manufacturer with a $535 million federal loan guarantee that went bankrupt, Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP) has incurred $98 million in net losses over the past several years, has substantial debts and does not generate enough cash from its current operations after debt-service costs, an internal audit said.

Seismic risk of fracking has been wildly overstated.  Hydraulic fracturing to produce oil and gas has become closely associated in the public mind with the risk of triggering man-made earthquakes.  But the risk is not high and it is not confined to fracking.  There may be greater danger from geothermal energy production and pumping carbon dioxide underground as part of carbon capture and storage projects.

"Sustainable growth," "green buildings" and "net zero" construction:

Report: 'Unsustainable' Suburban America Contributes to Climate Change.  The iconic American suburban neighborhoods that attract families looking for safe and prosperous areas have been targeted in recent years — first from those who believe zoning is a racist tactic to keep certain people out of the neighborhoods.  And now a report from the left-leaning Brooking Institute is claiming that the "unsustainable" nature of the suburbs means they must be transformed in the name of preventing climate change.  The Brooking Institute report touts President Joe Biden's "ambitious and necessary" goal to reduce greenhouse gas emission to 50 percent of the amount emitted in 2005 by 2030, with even bigger reductions by 2050.

The Editor says...
Since most of the greenhouse effect is due to water vapor, [1] [2] the relatively small amount of CO2 emitted by human activity worldwide makes no perceptible difference.

'I know I'm making a difference here.' University of St. Thomas builds a residence hall where sustainability is key.  Tommie East Hall, at the University of St. Thomas, is probably unlike any other student housing you've ever seen.  It's a 'smart building,' with COVID-precautions and a green zone, all rolled into one.  "Their number one goal was the embracement of sustainability," says Eric Engh, Senior Vice President of Ryan Companies.  "This will be a great example to see how good can you be.  So it'll be fun to watch."  The University has a lofty goal:  to achieve carbon neutrality by 2035.

The Editor says...
Carbon dioxide is not carbon, nor is it a pollutant, nor is it the most influential greenhouse gas.  "Carbon neutrality" is probably unattainable, and certainly unsustainable.

When "Smart" Homes Turn Stupid:  Google Users Literally "Left In The Dark" During Monday Outage.  By now, Monday's [12/14/2020] massive Google outage is history for most people.  While it was a minor inconvenience for some, with most Google services being down for hours on end, it was a much larger pain [...] for the tragically hip who have surrendered their "smart" homes to Google.  In fact, of the services that went down, it was Google Home users who were literally left in the dark during the outage on Monday, RT notes.  As a result, "smart home" users were complaining about not being able to perform once-simple tasks at their homes — like turning on the lights.  "I'm sitting here in the dark in my toddler's room because the light is controlled by @Google Drive Home.  Rethinking... a lot right now," one Twitter user tweeted in the midst of the "blackout". Another user from the U.K. said that connecting his lights to Google Home now "feels like a fatal error."

Corporate Propaganda & Indoctrination.  The World Economic Forum (WEF), through its corporate partnerships, has a plan to indoctrinate every citizen on its Great Reset agenda.  According to the WEF, we must all live sustainable lives, with equality in all aspects of life, and that as a result, life will be much better for all.  What isn't mentioned is that it will be corporations, elitists, and most importantly technocrats who will be making the decisions on exactly how this utopian world will work.  Corporate propaganda and indoctrination have been prepping the common people on this for years, enough to the point where the masses have bought into this group think about sustainability. [...] There are eighteen WEF platforms covering every aspect it intends to change in the world, one of which is Shaping the Future of Media, Entertainment and Sport.  This is the platform used for propaganda on sustainability, how society needs to reset their lives and what needs to change for sustainable living, and what WEF predicts for the future.

Cheap insulation in green-compliant new cladding helped spread Grenfell Tower blaze that killed 72.  The inquiry into the 2017 fire at Grenfell Tower in London has revealed how the styrofoam thermal insulation layer in newly-fitted wall cladding enabled a small domestic fire to rapidly engulf most of the building, resulting in the loss of 72 lives.  The type of cladding installed complied with advice given to local authorities in 2010 by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) to reduce emissions through installing new boilers and insulation in apartment blocks. [...] The Guardian reports that when insulated cladding was installed at the building to reduce its carbon footprint, the Kensington & Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO) put cost above safety.  Despite residents having voted for fire-retardant zinc cladding to be used, KCTMO chose a cheaper alternative — aluminum composite material (ACM) with flammable plastic insulation.

'Net-Zero' Carbon Emissions [is] a Suicide Pact.  [Scroll down]  And for what?  "To avoid the worst climate impacts, global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions will not only need to drop by half in the next 10 years, they will then have to reach net-zero around mid-century."  This is typical global Leftism: assert a counter-factual ("we're all gonna die"), invent a phantom problem (we are carbon-based life forms, therefore we pollute by our very existence"), come up with a ruinously expensive solution, with the ultimate goal of erasing mankind from the planet.

Density Ideology Will Destroy America.  If you're searching for an organizing principle that unites the Left, density ideology should be at or near the top of your list.  Far from being a sideshow, density ideology is behind the leftist drive to cram America's rising population into the footprint of existing cities.  It fulfills the agenda of every big player on the Left.  Environmentalists get to preserve open space.  Social justice warriors get to experiment with forced ethnic and economic integration via mandatory "inclusionary zoning," and investors — and this, above all, is critical — get to make a killing as the price of real estate skyrockets inside the areas where building is still allowed.  Every premise that the densification gang advocates is flawed.

Warren: Under my administration, no new houses or buildings unless they're carbon neutral.  Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren made the striking claim on Wednesday that her administration would mandate that any house or building constructed after 2028 would have to be carbon-neutral.  Claiming on MSNBC's Morning Joe that current climate change science indicates "it's worse than we thought and we have less time" to avert environmental disaster, Warren pledged to institute a zero-carbon-footprint rule for any new construction in the country.  The candidate pledged carbon-neutral mandates for vehicles and a ban on any new drilling offshore or on federally owned lands.  Warren also promised to pour a trillion dollars into cleaning up natural areas devastated by industry.

The Editor says...
Please define "carbon-neutral" construction.  Does that mean the buildings must contain no carbon?  (I'd like to see that, from the outside and from a safe distance.)  Whatever it means, it most likely pertains to carbon dioxide, which is not carbon.

The Coming Socialist-Libertarian Feudalism.  Densification, also known as in-fill, or "smart growth," will never provide sufficient new housing to make homes affordable unless it is balanced by similarly relaxed approval processes for homebuilding on open land.  The topic of "smart growth" exposes another special interest favoring densification, the Silicon Valley high tech industry.  California's Silicon Valley is an epicenter not only of concentrated political and economic power, but it is also one of the world's largest ideological fermentation tanks containing potent strains of socialism, progressivism, and libertarianism.  And in this "do no evil" caldron of visions, plans, and stupefying power, innovators are building the "internet of things," so that not only shall we live in stack-and-pack housing, we will survive on algorithmically managed micro sips of water and energy.  And depending on what time we run our clothes dryer, we will pay a bit more or a bit less depending on the spot market price for electricity and water — such a libertarian concept!

Welcome to California.  Building homes in California requires a significant investment of time, money, and other resources, leading many developers to avoid construction projects.  But in northwest Los Angeles County, one builder has stayed the course since 1994.  On completion in 2021, the 15,000-acre Newhall Ranch — billed as one of the world's first large-scale planned communities — will feature roughly 22,000 homes that follow the curves of the Santa Clara River in the Santa Clarita Valley.  Owned by Orange County's FivePoint Communities, Newhall Ranch is expected "to be 'net-zero,' meaning no greenhouse gas emissions, by implementing several mitigation efforts including solar panels and open space," according to local radio reports.

This unfinished Arizona 'futuristic hippie commune' has a problem.  In the middle of Arizona's desert lies something unexpected:  a rather strange, unfinished "city of the future." [...] A nonprofit group called the Cosanti Foundation has been working for decades to create a city that would inspire the future of urban design by incorporating a range of environmentally-friendly features to reduce sprawl and minimize the need for cars while harnessing solar power and natural vegetation to energy reduce costs. [...] Construction began in 1970, but a new building has not been completed since 1989, Vice reports.

NYC goes stone-age Green.  New York City politicians intend to "lead the way" to combat "climate change."  Last week, the City Council voted almost unanimously for a package of six bills that comprise the "Climate Mobilization Act" for the nation's largest city.  Of the 44 council members voting, only two opposed this legislation.  What will happen that is predictable is the immediate cost.  The centerpiece of this legislation is the $4 billion energy efficiency mandate on the City's largest buildings, on top of the already substantial property taxes and construction costs.  But that is just the beginning of Mayor Bill de Blasio's estimated $14 billion strategic plan — his own "Green New Deal" — unveiled on Earth Day to reduce the City's "carbon footprint... before it's too late."

Stop Trying to Get Workers Out of Their Cars.  If you hate urban sprawl, you're probably familiar with the complaints of the "smart growth" movement:  Roadways blight cities.  Traffic congestion is the worst.  Suburbanization harms the environment.  Fortunately, say these smart growthers, there is an alternative:  By piling on regulations and reallocating transportation-related tax money, we can "densify" our urban communities, allowing virtually everyone to live in a downtown area and forego driving in favor of walking or biking.  Smart growth proponents have been gaining influence for decades.  They've implemented urban growth boundaries (which greatly restrict the development of land outside a defined area), up-zoning (which tries to increase densities in existing neighborhoods by replacing single-family homes with apartments), and "road diets" (which take away traffic lanes to make room for wider sidewalks and bike lanes).  Alas, there are inherent flaws in the "smart growth" approach — beginning with the idea that it makes sense for everyone to live and work in the same small area.

How hackers could turn a 'smart city' into a house of cards.  With hackers targeting city government systems, there's a growing fear that the so-called high-tech "smart city" of the future could be turned into a house of cards.  Cities are adopting artificial intelligence and machine learning to help with infrastructure, yet security experts warn there's a danger of hackers compromising networks, causing widespread pandemonium, and even infiltrating government systems.  Here's an example.  Say a metro area like Minneapolis decides to connect a highway system to robotic cars, which are then directed automatically by GPS to slow down, find alternate routes, or even find a parking spot and wait for congestion to subside.  It's a nirvana state, but it's also a nightmare scenario.  A hacker could find one unprotected access point and, without a lot of effort, tap into the transportation system and instruct all cars to drive much faster.

Germany's National Power Grid Mess: 172,000 Power Outages Annually!  Berlin-Brandenburg BER airport:  Construction began in 2006 with operation scheduled to begin in 2011.  And now as 2017 nears the end, BER is not even close to opening.  Currently it is well over 2000 days behind schedule.  Massive technical deficiencies with the airport's safety systems plague the entire project, and now it is questionable whether the airport will even open in 2021.  BER's original estimated price tage was 2.5 billion euros, but since then the costs have ballooned to 6.6 billion euros today.  Worse:  billions more are expected, nobody knows when the project will be completed, and there's even talk the project might be abandoned altogether!  It is undoubtedly the country's greatest construction and engineering debacle so far this century. [...] At the early design and construction stages, the project was run by Berlin's socialist-green bureaucrats — who thought they could handle it better than real builders.

The Things People Do To Foil Energy-Saving Buildings.  You've built your shiny new high-efficiency building with all the latest energy-saving features:  smart thermostats, motion sensor-activated lights, floors designed to absorb heat during the day and release it at night.  But when you look at your building's actual energy use, the savings are far less than anticipated.  Why?  Well, maybe the building's occupants are putting popsicles on the thermostats so they can force the heat to go higher.  Or maybe they're using a toy to continuously trigger the motion sensor lights, to keep them from turning off when they leave the room.  Bet you didn't think of that.

Green deathtraps: energy-saving renovation blamed for horrific Grenfell Tower fire in London.  In the wake of the ghastly conflagration that engulfed a recently renovated 24-story apartment tower in London, the world is waking up to the dire threat created by energy-saving green zealots.  It turns out that nobody much worried about the fire hazard involved when flammable materials were used to add an outer "skin" of cladding to the building, creating heat insulation thanks to the air pocket between the new cladding and the old exterior wall, but also providing an ideal space for fire to race up the building.

California's drought tolerant landscaping may make heat waves worse.  [George] Ban-Weiss and post-doctoral scholar Pouya Vahmani used a model of the Los Angeles basin to investigate the climate impacts of widespread adoption of drought tolerant vegetation.  Their findings, put forth in the article "Climatic Consequences of Adopting Drought Tolerant Vegetation over Los Angeles as a Response to the California Drought" in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, indicate that in fact, if all lawns were replaced with drought tolerant vegetation, that Angelenos could expect an average daytime warming of 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit due largely to decreased evaporative cooling, as irrigation is stopped.  For the hottest regions of the Los Angeles basin, such as the inland empire and San Fernando valley, the researchers predict a daytime increase in temperature of 3.4 degrees Fahrenheit.  Such temperature increases could exacerbate heatwaves, increase photochemical smog production, and increase air conditioning energy use.

What went wrong in Craik?  The Eco-Centre opened with great fanfare in July 2004.  It was the brainchild of several members of Saskatchewan's environmental community.  Following a series of meetings, the town agreed to finance and operate the $600,000 facility. [...] This August will mark seven years since Craik was placed under a boil-water advisory.  "It seems like it's been forever," said deputy mayor Char Edwards.  The $1-million environmentally-friendly water filtration system recommended by Eco-Village experts never worked.

Cost effectiveness of NC's green schools debated.  A new report for the John Locke Foundation says green schools in North Carolina and nationally fall short of their promised energy savings and can be less energy-efficient than traditional schools.  The report looked at green schools in four North Carolina school districts, including Wake and Durham counties, and found most were less energy-efficient than similar schools in their districts.  The report, which was released this week, says that the failure of those schools to produce energy savings as promised is an "environmental failure."  Proponents of green building say that most schools built according to environmentally sensitive principles do save money and can have other benefits for students.

Masdar's zero-carbon dream could become world's first green ghost town.  Developers have abandoned their original goal of building the world's first zero-carbon city in the UAE desert.  With completion originally scheduled for this year, just how much of the once-revolutionary vision has actually been realised?

The Suburb That Tried To Kill the Car.  It takes, in fact, a few extra minutes in the neighborhood to realize what's different — and what's missing.  Downtown Evanston — a sturdy, tree-lined Victorian city wedged neatly between Lake Michigan and Chicago's northern border — is missing cars.  Or, more accurately, it's missing a lot of cars.  Thanks to concerted planning, these new developments are rising within a 10-minute walk of two rail lines and half-a-dozen bus routes.  The local automobile ownership rate is nearly half that of the surrounding area.

Californians upset that they can't sell their green energy homes.  Trouble has reared its head for Californians who enrolled in a special government program designed to allow them to use taxpayer funds to upgrade their homes with solar panels, wind turbines, unicorn flatulence converters and any number of other green energy improvements.  Tens of thousands of Californians signed up for the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program which provided them with funding for installing such energy efficient goodies over the past several years, but now they're finding their homes stalled on the market when they want to sell them.

"Renewable", "Sustainable" And The Brundtland Commission.  The phrase "renewable energy" conjures up visions of wind, solar, tidal power — clean energy sources that last forever and which will power the world into a green, sustainable future that will last forever.  But what, exactly, is sustainability?  How is it defined?  When we examine the official definitions we find two things:  First that renewable energy is not necessarily sustainable and sustainable energy not necessarily renewable:  and second that there's far more to sustainability than just energy.  Sustainability contemplates a complete restructuring of the global economy and the world's social fabric, and energy policy has, unfortunately, been nominated to take the lead in achieving it.

Sustainability is the Left's New Code Word for Social Justice.  Sustainability is the latest buzzword when it comes to advocating for responsible environmental stewardship.  And why not?  Its proper implementation can have positive results.  But sustainability has become a new religion for the Left and its church is the college campus, where converts — the future leaders of America — have twisted the concept into a catch-all for social justice activism bent on transforming socioeconomic and political foundations.  "Sustainability, it turns out, is the new battle cry in an old war," states Katherine Kersten in a commentary for Minneapolis's Star Tribune.  She means that although what is familiar in the cause is age-old environmentalism, it has been rebranded and redefined to include a broader spectrum of social justice issues like gender neutrality, transgenderism, and addressing white privilege and police brutality.

Crushing People Into Tight Housing Won't Cut CO2 Levels.  'Smart growth" projects across the country aim to jam people into high-density housing near mass transit systems.  Proponents think this will make people abandon their automobiles, reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  But new research shows "stack-and-pack" housing is an ineffective way to reduce carbon dioxide levels.

Net-Zero Busybodies.  International agreements to lower greenhouse gases like the Kyoto Protocol have proven to be unenforceable, but zoning laws have real teeth.  Thus global warming activists have begun to work on the municipal and state level to pass zoning laws that mandate "net-zero" greenhouse gas emissions in new construction, referred to as Net-Zero or "Zero Energy Building" (ZEB) or "Zero Net Energy" (ZNE).

Building The Capacity To Increase Net Zero Construction.  The net zero building movement (where buildings produce as much or more energy than they consume) remains a nascent phenomenon.  As of this time last year, the New Buildings Institute — the organization that tracks such things — had recognized only 21 buildings as net zero structures.  Only two of these exceeded 15,000 square feet.  The concept of net zero construction clearly has a long way to go before it becomes mainstreamed.

EPA: Green Gone Wild.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wants to vastly expand its power.  Last year, the agency paid nearly $700,000 to the National Academy of Sciences to draft the document "Sustainability and the U.S. EPA."  This manifesto rationalizes why the EPA has the right to regulate every business, community and ecosystem in the country.  The key to the EPA's regulatory control is "sustainability," an illusive and ill-defined term even more broadly applicable than the interstate commerce clause.

National Heritage Sites and Agenda 21.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, how many single-family homes damaged by the storm surge will be rebuilt as high density dwellings?  This is after all, the Smart Growth trend across the country — destroy traditional homes in the suburbs because they are "unsustainable" and build high rises in inner cities.

Quit worrying about "urban sprawl" and start worrying about federal stewardship.  One of the green movement's great gripes with humanity is that people just take up too much [...] room, and ergo put a lot of ecological stress on the land on which they live.  The ever-sprouting world population, they argue, isn't sustainable, as we'll eventually run out of space to put people.  A new graphic from Environmental Trends, however, aptly demonstrates how unfounded these fears are.

Welcome to Sustainable City.  As I walked through Washington, D.C. Ronald Reagan National Airport Terminal C on my way to the gate, a large electronic billboard caught my attention. ... Capturing the site on my iphone, the typical fare of environmentalism popped up, presenting Siemens as the leader in "sustainable development," "green buildings," "intelligent buildings," "smart grid," "sustainable urban development," "sustainable communities," "environmental care," and health care. ... Familiar with the UN Agenda 21 propaganda and its buzzwords preceded either by "sustainable" or "green" everything, in the name of saving the planet from human behavior, a clever and devious attempt to control every facet of human activity and life, I stopped immediately.

The Nazi Roots of Sustainable Development.  Much of the European Union's green sustainable development plans are largely based on government controlled land use planning theories rooted in the lebensraum tradition.  Literally, lebensraum means "living space."  Lebensraum was originally developed by German geographer Friedrich Ratzel (1844-1904) and then greatly expanded under the banner of National Socialism (1933-1945).

Smart Growth America!.  I received a robocall two days ago.  It was my Magisterial District Supervisor, inviting me with all his Smart Growth friends to a tour of Belmont Bay, a mixed-used residential area with a new George Mason University environmental science facility.  He called the right person for the wrong reasons. ... The words he used, Smart Growth, flagged my attention immediately, since I recognized one of the euphemisms used by UN Agenda 21 to hide land use control, regulation, and confiscation under the guise of environmental protection.

The Bicycle Overlords.  If you sometimes scratch your head while sitting in traffic and ask yourself why transportation planners and local political leaders make such odd decisions that result in more congestion, wasted fuel, and increased pollution, you may want to check out the urban planning doctrine called Smart Growth (or, New Urbanism) that is the current fad in many communities across the country.  Chances are, your local government is fully wedded to it already.

Urban Texans Lead Nation in Not Biking to Work.  Among large cities with 200,000 or more people, according to a report released this week by the Census Bureau, five communities in Texas led the nation in having the smallest percentage of workers commuting by bicycle.  In the border city of Laredo, Texas, in the five year period from 2008 through 2012, 0.0 percent of workers rode bikes to work.  That topped all large cities for the smallest percentage of workers commuting by bike.  In Garland, Plano, Fort Worth and Dallas, only 0.1 percent biked to work.  These Texas cities tied for next to last.  In four other Texas cities, only 0.2 percent rode bikes to work.  These included Arlington, Irving, San Antonio and El Paso.

How "Smart Growth" Intensifies Air Pollution.  For years, regional transportation plans, public officials, and urban planners have been seeking to densify urban areas, using strategies referred to as "smart growth" or "livability."  They have claimed that densifying urban areas would lead to lower levels of air pollution, principally because it is believed to reduce travel by car.  In fact, however, EPA data show that higher population densities are strongly associated with higher levels of automobile travel and more concentrated air pollution.

The Socialist Phobia of Scarcity.  If you are a socialist, chances are you believe that there is only a limited amount of wealth in the world.  People are impoverished only because rich capitalists are hoarding it.  You probably also believe that global natural resources are scarce, the world's water supply is drying up, and irreplaceable species are becoming extinct.  This irrational fear of scarcity is what drives the socialist advocacy for abortion of the unborn and euthanasia of the aged and infirm.  As it turns out, the "population bomb" has thus far been a dud.  Paul Ehrlich's 1968 book of the same name predicted mass starvation and global social upheavals by the 1980s.  Although this never happened, it has not deterred true believers.

"Smart Growth" Policies Hurt.  There is mounting evidence that smart growth policies have already prevented thousands of American households from their claim of the American Dream of owning their own home.  Designed as an environmentally-sensitive response to perceived suburban overcrowding or "sprawl," smart growth policies crowd housing units together into clusters of dense, skyward structures.

Are the Communists Coming?  [Scroll down]  When a candidate uses terms such as "smart growth," and "sustainability," don't take these words to be meaningless.  Know that they come from Agenda 21, a product of the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development.  This is the same conference that produced the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Climate Change Treaty.  Agenda 21, and its policies seek to take elected officials out of the policy-making arena and place that authority in the hands of appointed "stakeholder councils," and the like.  "Stakeholder councils" serve much the same function as "soviets" in the old communist regimes.

Global Warming on Steroids:  We are being subjected to demands that we alter our economy to accommodate an utterly false assertion of global warming.  At the same time, environmentalists are actively involved in schemes to put as much of the U.S. landmass as possible off-limits to any development.  All of this has been neatly spelled out in a United Nations plan alleged to insure "sustainable development", but which in fact is designed to inhibit and prohibit any development anywhere.

Going Green = $4 per Gallon.  [Scroll down]  Such policy is driven by the Sustainable Development lobby.  Led by massively wealthy and powerful special interests like the Sierra Club, Audubon Society, the National Resources Defense Council and Earthjustice, to name a very few.  With their dollars and lobbyists, they are forcing Congress to implement the policies outlined in the UN's Agenda 21 soft law document.  It pretends to be environmental policy, but is really a complete transformation of our society and economy to a top down control, leading toward global governance.  The environment is just the excuse to convince unaware Americans to give up their liberties "to save the earth."

Livable communities is a socialist trap!  Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) has authored a bill S.1619 titled the "Livable Communities Act."  It is one of the most dangerous bills to ever threaten our liberty.  Worse even than the Obamacare scheme.  S.1619 creates a new permanent federal office:  The Office of Sustainable Housing and Communities" for the enforcement of this bill the "Development Czar" if you will.  Sen. Dodd is lying when he says S.1619 is purely voluntary.

Al Gore, the United Nations, and the Cult of Gaia (1999):  [Scroll down]  These people believe in Gaia — an "Earth spirit," goddess or planetary brain — and they think that human beings can have mystical experiences or a spiritual relationship with this entity.  In order to protect Gaia, in their view, the U.S. and other industrial countries have to be prohibited from certain uses of the world's natural resources.  This is called "sustainable development."

California Voters Defy Activist Groups, Approve New Home Construction.  Voters in the San Francisco suburbs of Pittsburg and Antioch, reflecting support from key Democratic elected officials, defied the Sierra Club and other activist groups by approving on November 8 two proposed housing developments.  The activist groups have vowed to challenge the new communities in every venue possible, including zoning boards, planning commissions, and the courts.

Smart Growth = Crime, Congestion and Poverty.  Urban sprawl has sparked a national debate over land-use policy, launching a movement in the past decade called "smart growth."  Advocates of such policies contend that urban sprawl causes crime and congestion, and limits opportunities for the poor and minorities.

Testimony on Smart Growth and Public Transit.  I do not favor sprawl.  I favor allowing people to live and work where and how they like.  And there is no reason not to allow it.  Even today, urbanization accounts for less than three percent of the nation's land area.  The "Smart Growth" movement seeks to stop or control urban sprawl.  Proponents claim that it will reduce traffic congestion, reduce air pollution and reduce costs.  It is important to understand that smart growth and containing sprawl require higher densities.  Smart growth's goals simply are unattainable without much higher densities.

"Smart Growth" Research:  As much as 20 percent of federal transportation funding goes to transit, which serves less than 2 percent of travelers. [...] Since transit service is so much slower than cars and is focused principally in the core and central business districts of major metropolitan areas, people who use transit because they do not have a car face limited mobility and diminished job prospects.

Fewer roads for more people.  What does Beijing have in common with Portland, Oregon?  Urban congestion.  It's much worse in Beijing, but Portland's traffic congestion isn't getting any better.  Further, both cities' traffic is worsened by bad government.

What Causes Sprawl?  While many factors spur Americans' shift from urban to suburban living, the main force behind this transition is our increasing wealth.  This has raised living standards and allowed widespread automobile ownership.

The Crusade Against Urban Sprawl:  There is a strong relationship between urban sprawl and air pollution — but not the one the new urbanists suggest.  In the United States, air pollution tends to increase with population density.  Similarly, traffic congestion tends to be worse in higher density urban areas.

San Francisco Imposes Green Building Codes.  Green building codes signed into law by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) may cost city residents and businesses $700 million each and every year in expenses and lost economic output, the city's Office of Economic Analysis is reporting.  The green building codes, signed in August, will force residents and businesses to pay significantly higher construction costs and rents and will likely drive many of them out of the city, the agency warns.

False Solutions and Real Problems.  There were certainly places here and there where it took half a family's income just to put a roof over their heads. ... Almost invariably, these severe local problems had local causes — usually severe local restrictions on building homes.  These restrictions had a variety of politically attractive names, ranging from "open space" laws and "smart growth" policies to "environmental protection" and "farmland preservation."

Insects as food:

Making Meals From Mealworms Is 'Part of the Answer' to the Climate Crisis, claims CEO.  Increasingly, companies and scientists are viewing insects as an environmentally sustainable alternative source of protein.  Crickets, grasshoppers and beetles are already commercially produced and processed for human and animal consumption.  Ynsect, a 10-year-old French company, is focused on mealworms, the larval stage of beetles.  Ynsect co-founder and CEO Antoine Hubert:  "We are not far from reaching tipping points where then things get worse and it cascades and waterfalls — you can't stop it anymore.  Time is very critical...  There is a huge need to reduce our consumption of beef.  We should keep beef consumption, grazing, on a smaller scale with high levels of fresh products.  But everything that is a processed meat should be 100% replaced at some point by alternatives.  Insects will be a part of the answer."

Some pet food brands are now using proteins from INSECTS so they can reduce their carbon impact and use less land and water.  Pet food companies are swapping meat proteins for that of insects in a bid to reduce your cat or dog's environmental impact or carbon pawprint.  Big name brands like Nestle Purina and Mars have recently joined the move by using dried black soldier fly larvae, while other companies, such as Jiminy's, use cricket protein.  The shift aims to reduce the 64 million tons of carbon dioxide that is emitted each year from producing and the consumption of meat-based products.

If you've ever wanted to eat a cicada, your time is coming.  When you think of cicadas you might not think 'yum, I'd eat that!' But, if you were wondering, you can and many people do.  And with an influx of the 17-year bugs reappearing, it may just be the opportunity for you to try them for yourselves.  In fact, the University of Maryland has even put together an entire cookbook of recipes just for cicadas.

Great Reset:  Eating Bugs is the Future, Proclaims the World Economic Forum.  The unelected self-anointed global elitists at the World Economic Forum (WEF) posted a video preaching to citizens about how "[I]nsect farming is set to play a growing role in our lives — especially in our diets".  The WEF is at the forefront of the so-called "Great Reset," or the idea that the global economy needs to be completely transformed in the post-pandemic world.  According to their moronic video, citizens should be assured that bugs "are rich in protein, healthy fats, and vitamins, and can be farmed at scale with minimal footprint."

Why aren't we all eating insects?  The farming of insects for food has been billed as the next sustainable food revolution in western countries many times over in the past few years.  One reason for this is, compared with traditional livestock such as beef and lamb, insects require far fewer resources and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions.

The Editor says...
You may eat bugs if you like, but I'll stick with beef, chicken, and fish, because I'm not at all concerned about "greenhouse gas emissions."  Even if global warming was a serious problem, which it isn't, and even if livestock farming contributed dangerous gases to the atmosphere, which it doesn't, I'd never eat bugs for dinner anyway.

Now Alcohol and Sugar Are Even Worse for the Planet Than Eating Meat.  Scientists want us to eat bugs.  Eating actual meat, from delicious cows and chickens and pigs and whatnot, is supposedly killing the planet.  Instead, we should be eating wormburgers and maggot-dogs and cricket tacos.  That's literally what the eggheads want.  They say it's the only way we'll keep everybody from dying of global warming.  Every other day there's another "news" story encouraging us all to eat filthy insects, like the mud-caked peasants they think we are.  So let's say you do what your moral, ethical, and intellectual betters tell you to do.  You stop eating meat.  Maybe you don't choke down cockroach casserole like they keep telling you, but you stop eating dead animals.  You make that sacrifice for the common good.  Now you're off the hook, aren't you?  Now they'll leave you alone, right?  Wrong!

Four Outrageously Insane Climate Proposals.  [#3] Ban Red Meat and Start Eating Bugs:  Meat consumption is a huge obstacle in climate activists' war against climate change.  This is in part why the FAQs of the Green New Deal mentioned getting rid of "farting cows," which emit methane into the atmosphere.  Some progressive activists have proposed banning meat entirely as a solution to stopping climate change. [...] For those who can't bear to ditch meat entirely, some alternatives have been suggested.  Insects have been proposed as not only a potentially sustainable animal feed, but for human diets.  According to some researchers, convincing people to eat mealworms and other grubs and bugs would simply require better marketing.

Let 'Em Eat Bugs, Says Kofi 'Marie Antoinette' Annan.  The topic of global warming has produced a stunning array of hysteria and absurdities. [...] If we were to compile a similar list of crackpot solutions to climate change, we'd probably start with the comments of former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, who recently said that if it were up to him, we would reduce the "major threat to the climate" posed by "global livestock" by "raising insects as an animal protein source."  "Insects," insists Annan, "have a very good conversion rate from feed to meat.  They make up part of the diet of 2 billion people and are commonly eaten in many parts of the world.  Eating insects is good for the environment and balanced diets."  Yes, fine idea. Let's take human progress back a few millennia and survive on grubs, a handful of leaves and root vegetables we could fight the rabbits for.

The Editor says...
I suspect that if Mr. Annan ever detected even a fragment of an insect in any of his food, he's send it back to the kitchen.

Kofi Annan: Eat Bugs To Stop Global Warming.  Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan wants you to eat more insects.  Why?  It's better for the environment and your health, he argues.  "Keeping meat consumption to levels recommended by health authorities would lower emissions and reduce heart disease, cancer, and other diseases," Annan told The Guardian Sunday [5/3/2015].

Man in China makes a living breeding cockroaches.  Usually, people can't get rid of cockroaches fastenough, but a farmer in China collects and cooks them up.  Wang Fuming is no ordinary farmer.  He's a roach farmer, and the bug business is booming.

Environmentalists Want You to Eat Bugs.  Science has two speeds:  "proven as fact" and "not sure."  Like it or not, the scientific theory that humans are causing the Earth to warm is still in the "not sure" camp.  Nonetheless, we're racing ahead in an anti-global-warming frenzy.  Some global-warming advocates have turned the issue into a religion — the believers shall be exalted and the deniers shall be burned at the stake.

The Six-Legged Meat of the Future.  Over the past two years, three Dutch insect-raising companies, which normally produce feed for animals in zoos, have set up special production lines to raise locusts and mealworms for human consumption.  Now those insects are sold, freeze-dried, in two dozen retail food outlets that cater to restaurants.  A few restaurants in the Netherlands have already placed insects on the menu, with locusts and mealworms (beetle larvae) usually among the dishes.

Flour made from insects will feed underfed populations.  A team of MBA students were the recipients of the 2013 Hult Prize earlier this week, providing them with $1 million in seed money to produce an insect-based, protein-rich flour for feeding malnourished populations in other countries.  The product is called Power Flour.

Eat a Cricket, Save the World.  Pound-for-pound, crickets pack more protein than cows, chickens, pigs, and the rest of the mammals and birds we've come to associate with barnyards.  And their smaller footprint — both literally and environmentally — makes them a candidate for a more sustainable food source.  Put down 100 grams worth of pure cricket and you've just ingested 69 grams of protein.  That's compared with 43 grams of protein in dried beef protein or 31 grams of protein in identical servings of chicken.  The insects also contain essential amino acids and are high in iron, calcium, B vitamins, and fiber.

Saturated fat:

The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease.  The fact is, there has never been solid evidence for the idea that these fats cause disease.  We only believe this to be the case because nutrition policy has been derailed over the past half-century by a mixture of personal ambition, bad science, politics and bias.

Bacon Is Good for You.  Those who love rib-eye steaks and double-cream Brie will feel better about their guilty pleasures after reading Nina Teicholz's article in this weekend's Wall Street Journal, "The Questionable Link Between Saturated Fat and Heart Disease." [...] Once the American Heart Association, funded by Proctor & Gamble, makers of Crisco, got behind the crusade, Teicholz argues, "there was no turning back".

Study Questions Fat and Heart Disease Link.  For decades, health officials have urged the public to avoid saturated fat as much as possible, saying it should be replaced with the unsaturated fats in foods like nuts, fish, seeds and vegetable oils.  But the new research, published on Monday [3/17/2014] in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, did not find that people who ate higher levels of saturated fat had more heart disease than those who ate less. Nor did it find less disease in those eating higher amounts of unsaturated fat, including monounsaturated fat like olive oil or polyunsaturated fat like corn oil.

Antibacterial Soap:

FDA Raises Safety Concerns On Antibacterial Soaps.  After more than 40 years of study, the U.S. government says it has found no evidence that common anti-bacterial soaps prevent the spread of germs, and regulators want the makers of Dawn, Dial and other household staples to prove that their products do not pose health risks to consumers.

Your Antibacterial Soap Is So Dangerous, Minnesota Just Banned It.  It looks like germaphobes in Minnesota are going to have to kiss antibacterial hand wash good-bye and go back to disinfecting their skin with old-school soap and water.  Gov. Mark Dayton has signed a measure banning the antibacterial chemical triclosan from all products sold in the state.  Triclosan is commonly found in a slew of personal care items — everything from body wash, dish soap, and toothpaste to over-the-counter acne medication.  It's found in nearly 2,000 products, but the bad news about the substance keeps piling up.

Wood as fuel:

The Editor says...
If you burn "biomass," you're on the leading edge of environmental responsibility.  If you call it "firewood," you're in trouble.

The 'Green Energy' That Might Be Ruining the Planet.  Here's a multibillion-dollar question that could help determine the fate of the global climate:  If a tree falls in a forest — and then it's driven to a mill, where it's chopped and chipped and compressed into wood pellets, which are then driven to a port and shipped across the ocean to be burned for electricity in European power plants — does it warm the planet?  Most scientists and environmentalists say yes:  By definition, clear-cutting trees and combusting their carbon emits greenhouse gases that heat up the earth.  But policymakers in the U.S. Congress and governments around the world have declared that no, burning wood for power isn't a climate threat — it's actually a green climate solution.  In Europe, "biomass power," as it's technically called, is now counted and subsidized as zero-emissions renewable energy.  As a result, European utilities now import tons of wood from U.S. forests every year — and Europe's supposedly eco-friendly economy now generates more energy from burning wood than from wind and solar combined.

'Carbon-neutrality is a fairy tale': how the race for renewables is burning Europe's forests.  Kalev Järvik stands on a bald patch of land in the heart of Estonia's Haanja nature reserve and remembers when he could walk straight from one side of the reserve to the other under a canopy of trees.  Järvik has lived in the Haanja uplands in the southern county of Võru for more than 10 years.  His closeness to the forest has shaped his life as a carpenter and the fortunes of the surrounding villages, with their handicraft traditions — a substitute for farming on the poor arable land.  Upcountry, travel literature promotes the region to city dwellers, promising its ancient woodlands as a place to rest and reinvigorate the mind.  But in 2015, the Estonian government allowed what is known as clear-cutting in some parts of the Haanja nature reserve. [...] "Sometimes I can't bear to go outside," Järvik says, standing by the stumps left on land stripped by the logging company Valga Puu.  The firm is a subsidiary of Graanul Invest Group, Europe's biggest producer of the wood pellets which are burned on an industrial scale as biomass for heat and light in many of Europe's former coal-fired power stations.

PM 2.5 scale
Burning Wood Produces Extremely Small Particles Harmful to Public Health.  As deleterious as wood smoke is on regional air quality, the effects are much more serious when wood smoke accumulates under stagnant conditions in the neighborhood or general vicinity of the wood smoke source, such as a school, senior center, etc.  When stagnant air conditions occur with near zero wind, a blanket of air traps smoke and other pollutants near the ground.  People most affected by PM and toxic fumes are the elderly, the young and those with heart and/or lung disease.  These conditions result in the rapid build-up of outdoor smoke that can affect all neighbors within the source's immediate vicinity.  Depending on the type of fireplace or insert used and the burning duration, smoke can concentrate under such conditions to many times the allowable Federal 24-hour Particulate Standards within a matter of hours.

The overlooked error with biomass.  When Thomas Edison established his Pearl Street power plant in New York City in 1892, he used coal for fuel, not wood.  Wood fuel could not compete with the cost of coal in 1892 and it still can't today.  Nevertheless, burning of biomass is widely regarded as sustainable and promoted as a solution for climate change, especially in Europe.  Today, Europe produces about 17 percent of its energy and 29 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.  Biomass accounts for about 19 percent of the electricity generated from renewables.

Burn coal not wood if you care about the climate.  It's all very well thinking about how long it takes one year's wood-pellet electricity to become neutral, but power stations need more fuel every year and if we keep razing more land, the carbon debt keeps growing.  In the two scenarios below the biomass industry keeps growing linearly every year.  But [eventually] people settle down on the whole biomass idea and stop razing extra forest in 2050.  Even so, the total industry carbon debt keeps accruing for another 56 years until presumably the regrowth reaches a point where it is pulling in more carbon [than] the yearly raze produces.  It takes 144 years after the industry stops expanding before the net carbon debt is back to zero.

Europe's Lessons Teach Us — Don't Go Green!  In Germany, the world leader in green energy, electricity prices have now reached a level triple those paid in the United States.  Imagine the anger here if middle-class Americans saw a tripling of their utility bills each month.  In Britain, to comply with renewable energy requirements, power stations are burning hundreds of millions of pounds of wood pellets (pellets imported from the U.S.).  Environmental experts confirm that burning wood is much worse for the environment than burning natural gas or even coal.  Australia, another "green energy" leader, saw its electricity prices skyrocket this past winter.  According to an analysis by the Institute for Energy Research, power costs surged unbelievably — from $100 per megawatt hour to $10,000 per megawatt hour.  This was because of heavy dependence on an unreliable renewable energy program.

EPA May Crack Down on Wood Stoves in Alaska.  Many Alaskans rely on wood-burning stoves, which left-wing bureaucrats regard as offensive to environment. [...] A few weeks ago, it got down to -37°F in Fairbanks.  The high for the day was -27°F.  But never mind keeping warm.  According to liberal theory, global warming will see to that.  The important thing is to comply with the dictates of the regulatory bureaucracy.

EPA To Alaskans In Sub-Zero Temps:  Stop Burning Wood To Keep Warm.  [Scroll down]  But alas, now comes the federal government to tell the inhabitants of Alaska's interior that, really, they should not be building fires to keep themselves warm during the winter.  The New York Times reports the Environmental Protection Agency could soon declare the Alaskan cities of Fairbanks and North Pole, which have a combined population of about 100,000, in "serious" noncompliance of the Clean Air Act early next year.  Like most people in Alaska, the residents of those frozen cities are burning wood to keep themselves warm this winter.  Smoke from wood-burning stoves increases small-particle pollution, which settles in low-lying areas and can be breathed in.  The EPA thinks this is a big problem.  Eight years ago, the agency ruled that wide swaths of the most densely populated parts of the region were in "non-attainment" of federal air quality standards.

Wood-For-Fuel Logging Increases CO2 and Damages Forest Health.  The Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan (CEP) states a goal of 90% renewable energy of ALL energy by 2050, not just electrical energy, which is only 35% of all energy.  The plan includes proposals to increase wood-for-fuel logging by 132% over 2014 levels.  To set the stage, well-known pro-logging consultants performed various studies to determine wood-for-fuel quantities.  The standard assumption in such studies is the CO2 from wood burning is not counted, because unfounded claims are made "it is renewable and carbon neutral".  Such studies usually provide cover for bureaucrats and legislators.

Solar is in, biomass energy is out — and farmers are struggling to dispose of woody waste.  It should have been a good year for turning wood and waste into electrons.  A record-setting drought forced growers to bulldoze thousands of acres of trees, and hardly anyone in the Central Valley has permission to light bonfires anymore.  But more than trees have withered in California's sun.  The state's biomass energy plants are folding in rapid succession, unable to compete with heavily subsidized solar farms, many of which have sprouted up amid the fields and orchards of the San Joaquin Valley.  Paul Parreira is painfully aware of the irony.  The third-generation grower and almond processor is running out of dirt roads where he can spread ground-up almond shells, even as he expands a one-megawatt solar array on six acres of his family's property in Los Banos.

Oak Ridge Biomass Steam Plant Already Closed.  When Oak Ridge National Laboratory's Biomass Steam Plant opened in 2012, it was supposed to save the lab money while also cutting pollution.

Wood-burning power plants: Misguided climate change solution?  Is wood the best fuel to generate electricity?  Despite wood's low energy density and high cost, utilities in the US and abroad are switching from coal to wood to produce electrical power.  The switch to wood is driven by regulations from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other international organizations.  These regulations are based on the false assumption that burning wood reduces carbon dioxide emissions.

Another Renewable Myth Goes Up In Smoke.  A year ago I wrote in these pages that it made no sense for the consumer to subsidise the burning of American wood in place of coal, since wood produces more carbon dioxide for each kilowatt-hour of electricity.  The forests being harvested would take four to ten decades to regrow, and this is the precise period over which we are supposed to expect dangerous global warming to emerge.  It makes no sense to steal beetles' lunch, transport it halfway round the world, burning diesel as you do so, and charge hard-pressed consumers double the price for the power it generates.


Prog thinks she can change nature:  Suddenly (and hilariously) discovers that she can't.  [Scroll down]  The woman who made the video below, which is less than one minute long, has convinced herself that her dog — whose teeth are all "canine teeth" — has been persuaded to become a vegetarian by her superior wisdom.  I strongly suspect she is childless, and that her dog may be an attempt to fill the void that childlessness produces.  That would partially explain her treating it as if reasoning would persuade it to follow her fantasy of its nature.  But that speculation is not essential to the problem at hand where she discovers that she can't change her dog's dietary preferences.  [Video clip]

Hypocrisy: Fancy 'plant-based' restaurant in New York has secret 'meat room' for the elites.  Leftist elites, appalled by the mass-market luxuries in America, are obsessed with making the hoi polloi give up.  COVID's been a useful shibboleth for it — to force us to give up our freedom of movement and body integrity.  Global warming works even better.  Based on satisfying that ravenous god, they'd like us to give up our cars, airline flights, single-family housing, income (to government taxes), and... meat.  They proclaim all of this to the deplorables as saving the planet, but in each case, they always partake on the side.

The Great Reset of Beef Consumption.  Veganism is being advanced as the most ethical way to sustain the planet, and to promote human health and animal welfare.  But along with that, ranchers and small- and medium-scale beef-packers are being marginalized. [...] Deploying outright lies, a misguided agenda threatens individual liberty and our freedom to farm, own livestock, control our land, and choose our diet.  The socialist roster of lies about meat-eating must be countered.  One of the biggest lies is that veganism protects the environment.  But according to Dr. Frank Mitloehner, professor and air quality extension specialist at the University of California, Davis, if the entire population of the U.S. became vegan for a year, emissions would be reduced by a mere 2.6%.  He also says advocates of the Green New Deal have been dishonest about the water input assigned to beef.  Cattle mostly ingest green water or rain water.  What's more, they soon release much of that back to earth by urination — which cannot be said of trees.

Study says children on a vegan diet may have stunted growth and other health problems.  A new study found that children reared on a vegan diet may have stunted growth and other health problems compared to those raised on a diet that includes meat.  The study was conducted by researchers at the University College London and the Children's Memorial Health Institute.  They looked at data from healthy children ages 5 to 10 in Poland.  The study found that the children raised on a vegan diet were 3 centimeters shorter than their meat-eating counterparts.  The children were also three times likely to suffer from a vitamin B deficiency.  The vegan children, however, had less body fat and better levels of cholesterol that's linked to heart disease.

Condé Nast Cooking Publication Ends Beef Recipes 'To Encourage More Sustainable Cooking'.  The Condé Nast cooking brand "Epicurious" announced that it will no longer publish recipes that include beef on its website.  "In an effort to encourage more sustainable cooking, we won't be publishing new beef recipes on Epicurious," the company confirmed in a piece published on its website.  "We've cut out beef," it continued.  "Beef won't appear in new Epicurious recipes, articles, or newsletters.  It will not show up on our homepage.  It will be absent from our Instagram feed."  The publication wrote, "Almost 15 percent of greenhouse gas emissions globally come from livestock (and everything involved in raising it); 61 percent of those emissions can be traced back to beef.  Cows are 20 times less efficient to raise than beans and roughly three times less efficient than poultry and pork."

The Editor says...
There are times when reasonable people do not see efficiency as a top priority.  Dinnertime is one.  You may be able to think of others.

Meat-loving resistance tramples Colorado governor's vegan declaration.  Colorado Gov. Jared Polis wanted residents to go a day without eating meat, but instead he spurred a stampede to the steakhouses.  The Democratic governor's "MeatOut Day" proclamation encouraging Coloradans to skip saturated fats on March 20 has backfired spectacularly, feeding resistance with a "Meat In Day" that has carnivores vowing to outdo themselves in celebration of the state's livestock industry.  "I think this is a wake-up call," said Terry Fankhauser, executive vice president of Colorado Cattlemen's Association, which launched the Meat In Movement in response to the gubernatorial proclamation.

Vegans are 43 percent more likely to suffer bone fractures, study shows.  Vegans may be significantly more likely to develop bone fractures than meat-eaters, a new study revealed.  The large, longitudinal study published Sunday in the journal BMC Medicine, revealed that there were 19.4 more cases of fractures in vegans and 4.1 more cases in vegetarians for every 1,000 people over 10 years.  "This is the first comprehensive study and the largest study to date to look at the risks of both total fractures (fractures occurring anywhere in the body) and fractures at different sites in people of different habitual dietary habits," the study's lead author, Tammy Tong, a nutritional epidemiologist at the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford, said in an email to CNN.

Switching to keto diet may cause flu-like symptoms.  If you are feeling the aches and pains of what you think is the flu, a trendy diet may be the culprit instead, a new study confirms.  Researchers took a dive into what's become known as "keto flu" — the fatigue, headache, nausea and mental fog that some people develop soon after starting a ketogenic diet.

Vegan influencer eats meat for 30 days, shocks fans by saying she's healthier than she's 'felt in years'.  Alyse Parker, who has over 200K Instagram followers and over 700K Youtube subscribers, explained her decision on Instagram.  In a post, she revealed that she decided to try the Carnivore Diet after hearing about all of the health benefits from friends who switched from being vegan to eating only meat and animal products.  Parker explained, "I had my own fair share of health struggles and eventually reached a breaking point where I was willing to try anything to function properly again."

Scientists say official advice on eating less beef, pork and lamb is based on bad evidence.  Researchers in Canada, Spain and Poland have cast a shadow over eating advice adopted by health organisations around the world.  In a landmark paper, the academics analysed past studies of how eating meat affected the health of more than four million people.  They found no evidence that eating beef, pork and lamb could increase the rates of heart disease, cancer, stroke or type 2 diabetes — despite fears.  And the team also said they found nothing strong enough to signal that people should cut down on red meat, adding that the quality of evidence was too low for findings to be concerning.

Vegetarians Have A Much Higher Risk Of Stroke Than Meat Eaters, Study Finds.  According to a study from the medical journal BMJ, vegetarians had a 20-percent increase in stroke risk than meat eaters.  Lead researcher Tammy Tong, a nutritional epidemiologist at the Nuffield Department of Population Health at the University of Oxford, suggests that the great stroke risk is due to vegetarian diets often lacking nutrients like vitamin B12.

Environmental groups decry meat-heavy menu at climate talks.  Three environmental groups are criticizing the organizers of global climate talks in Poland for having too much meat on the meeting menu.

Study: Women Prefer Men Who Eat Meat.  Sorry, vegetarian and vegan men, but women prefer your meat-eating brethren.  At least according to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Padova (that's in Italy).  The study titled "Eating Meat Makes You Sexy:  Conformity to Dietary Gender Norms and Practices" found that when women were presented with fake bios of men that either showed food preferences that included meat or yogurt, they preferred the men who ate meat.  One experiment (out of three conducted by the researchers) asked 50 Italian women to rate the men's bios as "attractive," "sexy," or even "I would date him."  Negative descriptors were also included.

In Defense of Farmers, Hunters, and Meat-Eaters.  I am a monster, and so are millions of Americans who hunt, fish, and raise livestock.  At least that's the argument by Matthew Scully, a former literary editor of National Review, who took to these pages to present the case for the abolishment of animal cruelty. [...] Scully's moral argument against meat eating sounds great, as long as you don't think about the mice, rabbits, squirrels, moles, groundhogs, and other creatures great and small killed by the combines in the cornfields and green spaces where our vegetables are grown.  Anybody who lives in the country has seen turkey vultures circling and swooping down on the fields where the cornstalks have been reduced to stubble, or the murders of crows that gather to slowly hop and pick their way across the earth, taking sustenance in the animals killed in the raising of vegetables.  There's a hard truth in life that many of us either don't think about or choose to ignore:  We all eat to survive, and that means that something had to die in order for you to live.  Chances are, even if you're the most committed vegan you know, animals died in the making of your last, and next, meal.

Save the Environment — from Deadly Lettuce.  ISIS will not be amused.  First, President Barack Obama and Pope Francis have given the inherent danger of their terrorism the heave-ho by declaring that global warming/climate change is a bigger threat to 21st century humanity — and now global warming doctrine dares to suggest that bacon is better for the environment than run-of-the-mill lettuce.

Are vegetarians to blame for climate change?  Sticking to a vegetarian diet may not be as beneficial to the environment as you think — in fact, it might be helping to destroy it.  A study from Carnegie Mellon University has found that many common vegetables require more resources per calorie, and produce higher greenhouse gas emissions than some types of meat.  While lowering the weight of the general population has been shown to positively affect the environment, the researchers found that healthy eating leads to a higher environmental impact.

Lettuce 'three times worse' for environment than bacon, new study says.  According to a new study from Carnegie Mellon, a vegetarian diet could be worse for the environment than a carnivorous one.  Only pork chops can save the ozone now!  Fruits, vegetables, dairy and seafood have a more negative impact on the climate than meat, claims the study.  The meat-less diet increases energy use by 38 percent, water use by 10 percent and greenhouse gas emissions by six percent.

People love chickens that are "vegetarian fed." But chickens are not vegetarians.  Many of the largest U.S. sellers of organic eggs boast that their hens are vegetarian, and for an increasingly food-curious public, this may be great advertising.  A carton of Eggland's Best advertises that the company uses "vegetarian fed hens."  Horizon promises that their eggs "come from hens that are fed a 100% organic, vegetarian diet."  Land O Lakes hens have a diet with no animal fat or by-products.  Yet for the chickens, who are natural omnivores that readily devour bugs and small animals when they're available, the forced vegetarianism can be a disaster.

Vegan diet increases the risk of birth defects, scientists warn.  Women who are strict vegetarians or vegans may be a greater risk of having a child with birth defects because they are likely to be deficient in vitamin B12, researchers warned.  Research carried out in Ireland has found that women with low levels of B12, found in meat, eggs and milk, when they conceive are at greater risk of having a child with neural tube defects.

Study: Vegetarians Less Healthy, Lower Quality Of Life Than Meat-Eaters.  Vegetarians may have a lower BMI and drink alcohol sparingly, but vegetarian diets are tied to generally poorer health, poorer quality of life and a higher need for health care than their meat-eating counterparts.  A new study from the Medical University of Graz in Austria finds that vegetarians are more physically active, drink less alcohol and smoke less tobacco than those who consume meat in their diets.  Vegetarians also have a higher socioeconomic status and a lower body mass index.  But the vegetarian diet — characterized by a low consumption of saturated fats and cholesterol that includes increased intake of fruits, vegetables and whole-grain products — carries elevated risks of cancer, allergies and mental health disorders.

The Seven Sacraments of Liberalism.  [#3] Organic Food and Vegetarianism:  The dietary restrictions imposed upon the followers of liberalism signify the rise of a new gnosticism.  Liberals feel guilty because of their human status.  They desire to flee the filth of the world.  "Why did I burn those backyard leaves and cause climate change?  How can I have a barbecue with tofu?  Obama, help me, please."  Liberals want to be purified and free from their guilt, especially the guilt associated with eating meat.

84% of vegetarians go back to consuming animals, study finds.  A new study by the animal-friendly Humane Research Council reveals that 84% of vegetarians and vegans return to consuming our farm friends — and the animal rights world is terrified.

Vegetarians warned that 'superfood' tofu may harm your memory.  Eating high levels of some soy products, including tofu and other so-called 'superfoods,' may increase memory loss, scientists say.  Experts funded by the Alzheimer's Research Trust found a 20 percent lower level of brain functioning compared with those eating very little of the product.

Why salad is so overrated.  As the world population grows, we have a pressing need to eat better and farm better, and those of us trying to figure out how to do those things have pointed at lots of different foods as problematic.  Almonds, for their water use.  Corn, for the monoculture.  Beef, for its greenhouse gases.  In each of those cases, there's some truth in the finger-pointing, but none of them is a clear-cut villain.  There's one food, though, that has almost nothing going for it.  It occupies precious crop acreage, requires fossil fuels to be shipped, refrigerated, around the world, and adds nothing but crunch to the plate.

Self-driving cars:

'It Happened So Fast': Inside a Fatal Tesla Autopilot Accident.  George Brian McGee, a finance executive in Florida, was driving home in a Tesla Model S operating on Autopilot, a system that can steer, brake and accelerate a car on its own, when he dropped his phone during a call and bent down to look for it.  Neither he nor Autopilot noticed that the road was ending and the Model S drove past a stop sign and a flashing red light.  The car smashed into a parked Chevrolet Tahoe, killing a 22-year-old college student, Naibel Benavides.  One of a growing number of fatal accidents involving Tesla cars operating on Autopilot, Mr. McGee's case is unusual because he survived and told investigators what had happened:  He got distracted and put his trust in a system that did not see and brake for a parked car in front of it.  Tesla drivers using Autopilot in other fatal accidents have often been killed, leaving investigators to piece together the details from data stored and videos recorded by the cars.

Tesla is bringing the strategies pioneered by Apple to the auto industry.  Tesla released its futuristic "Full Self-Driving" package last year to great fanfare, criticism and the usual stream of video uploads showing off cars that could seemingly drive themselves.  Then something strange happened.  The electric vehicle giant revoked access for some drivers, it said.  Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced on Twitter in March that some users who had received access to the company's most advanced driver-assistance features "did not pay sufficient attention to the road."  Tesla did not say how it made the determination or who among the feature's 2,000 beta testers — who shelled out thousands for the package that Tesla now priced at $10,000 — would lose access.  But in Silicon Valley, the decision reflected a well-understood formula:  Consumers are the subject, and tech giants are in control.

Tesla has activated its in-car camera to monitor drivers using Autopilot.  Tesla has enabled the in-car camera in its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles to monitor drivers when its Autopilot advanced driver assistance system is being used.  In a software update, Tesla indicated the "cabin camera above the rearview mirror can now detect and alert driver inattentiveness while Autopilot is engaged."  Notably, Tesla has a closed loop system for the data, meaning imagery captured by the camera does not leave the car.  The system cannot save or transit information unless data sharing is enabled, according to Tesla.  The firmware update was cited by a number of Tesla owners, industry watchers and bloggers who are active on Twitter.  Tesla has faced criticism for not activating a driver monitoring system within the vehicle even as evidence mounted that owners were misusing the system.  Owners have posted dozens of videos on YouTube and TikTok abusing the Autopilot system — some of whom have filmed themselves sitting in the backseat as the vehicle drives along the highway.  Several fatal crashes involving Tesla vehicles that had Autopilot engaged has put more pressure on the company to act.

Tesla Autopilot system was on during fatal California crash, adding to self-driving safety concerns.  A Tesla Model 3 electric car that was part of a fatal Southern California crash last week had the company's Autopilot system activated when it careened into an overturned truck in the middle of the night, the Associated Press reported Friday [5/14/2021].  The May 5 crash near Los Angeles is the latest of several that are playing into safety concerns for Tesla's self-driving cars.  It was the fourth U.S. death involving the Autopilot self-driving system, the newswire wrote.  And it is sure to further complicate Tesla's already-troubled relationship with transportation safety regulators.  Public affairs staffers at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the California Highway Patrol did not respond to requests for further information Friday afternoon.  Tesla did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment.

Tesla's Autopilot Mode Crashed a Car Right Into a Washington State Cop.  Tesla's infamous Autopilot mode faced its latest reckoning this past weekend after it caused a driver to careen straight into a Washington state deputy's vehicle that was parked at the side of the road.  In a statement posted to the Facebook page for the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office, the department said that the Tesla did pretty "significant damage" to the deputy's vehicle, which was parked on the shoulder of the road at the time.  From the photos attached to the department's post, it looks like the Tesla rammed straight into the side of the patrol car, denting the back door and nearly ripping off a driver's side mirror.  According to NBC News, the Tesla driver — who was slapped with a ticket over the crash — just expected that his vehicle would sense the deputy's vehicle and maneuver around it, rather than slam into its side.

Tesla crash becomes subject of multiple investigations as it revives questions about self-driving cars.  After a fatal crash in Texas last week involving a Tesla with no one behind the wheel raised interest in self-driving cars, multiple federal agencies are investigating the electric car company.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a federal auto safety agency, is investigating the crash.  The agency also revealed on Thursday that it has opened nearly 30 investigations into the company over the past several years, 23 of which are currently open.  Many involve the car's much-hyped autopilot feature, which the agency said has been engaged in at least three fatal Tesla crashes since 2016.

Two die in Texas after Tesla 'on auto-pilot with no one in driving seat' crashes into tree and starts massive four-hour fire.  Two men died after a Tesla 'on autopilot with no one driving' crashed into a tree in Houston before starting a huge fire that took 32,000 gallons of water to extinguish.  The fully-electric 2019 Tesla Model S slammed into the tree in Carlton Woods at around 11.25 pm on Saturday night [4/17/2021] before bursting into flames with the passengers still inside.  Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Mark Herman said an investigation had found that 'no one was driving' when the accident happened, with one man sitting in the passenger seat at the front and the second sitting in the back.

Tesla Car With No One In The Front Seats Crashes And Bursts Into Flames, Kill Both Passangers While Self Driving.  Two men died after a Tesla vehicle, which was believed to be operating without anyone in the driver's seat, crashed into a tree on Saturday night north of Houston, authorities said.  "There was no one in the driver's seat," Sgt. Cinthya Umanzor of the Harris County Constable Precinct 4 said.  The 2019 Tesla Model S was traveling at a high rate of speed, when it failed to negotiate a curve and went off the roadway, crashing to a tree and bursting into flames, local television station KHOU-TV said.  [Video clip]

Heavy Rain Affects Object Detection by Autonomous Vehicle LiDAR Sensors.  Researchers at the University of Warwick in the U.K. have found that the LiDAR sensors on autonomous vehicles (AVs) are less effective in detecting objects at a distance during periods of heavy rain.  The researchers used the university's WMG 3xD simulator to test an AV's LiDAR sensors in different intensities of rain on real roads; they found that when the rainfall increased up to 50 mm per hour, object detection by the sensors dropped in conjunction with a longer range in distance.  Warwick's Valentina Donzella said, "Ultimately we have confirmed that the detection of objects is hindered to LiDAR sensors the heavier the rain and the further away they are."

Consumer Reports Scores Tesla Autopilot "Distant Second" to GM Super Cruise.  Tesla has been able to dominate the conversation around both electric and autonomous vehicles, for good and bad reasons.  In terms of its Autopilot driver assistance system, which is somewhat deceptively named, the general consensus is that Tesla is leading the auto industry in the technology.  A new comprehensive evaluation begs to differ.  On Wednesday [10/28/2020], Consumer Reports released its findings from a wide-ranging test of 17 different vehicles with active driving assistance systems (ADAS).  The result?  Tesla Autopilot is "now a distant second" to Super Cruise from General Motors.

Advanced driver-assistance systems found to be susceptible to split-second flash phantoms.  A team of researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev has found that at least two advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) are susceptible to responding to split-second flash phantoms. [...] Last year, the same team reported that they had found that it was possible to confuse Tesla vehicles equipped with ADAS into responding to "phantom" images projected onto the roadway or nearby objects such as trees.  They found that projecting an image of a person onto the road in front of an oncoming Tesla vehicle, for example, would cause the system to apply the brakes — a move that could prove hazardous if another vehicle was behind the Tesla.  In this new effort, the researchers have found ADAS's are also susceptible to responding to split-second flash phantoms.

NTSB: Tesla Autopilot, distracted driver caused fatal crash.  Tesla's partially automated driving system steered an electric SUV into a concrete barrier on a Silicon Valley freeway because it was operating under conditions it couldn't handle and because the driver likely was distracted by playing a game on his smartphone, the National Transportation Safety Board has found.

Snow and Ice Pose a Vexing Obstacle for Self-Driving Cars.  In late 2018, Krzysztof Czarnecki, a professor at Canada's University of Waterloo, built a self-driving car and trained it to navigate surrounding neighborhoods with an annotated driving data set from researchers in Germany.  The vehicle worked well enough to begin with, recognizing Canadian cars and pedestrians just as well as German ones.  But then Czarnecki took the autonomous car for a spin in heavy Ontarian snow.  It quickly became a calamity on wheels, with the safety driver forced to grab the wheel repeatedly to avert disaster.  The incident highlights a gap in the development of self-driving cars:  maneuvering in bad weather.

Attacking Driverless Cars with Projected Images.  The absence of deployed vehicular communication systems, which prevents the advanced driving assistance systems (ADASs) and autopilots of semi/fully autonomous cars to validate their virtual perception regarding the physical environment surrounding the car with a third party, has been exploited in various attacks suggested by researchers.  Since the application of these attacks comes with a cost (exposure of the attacker's identity), the delicate exposure vs. application balance has held, and attacks of this kind have not yet been encountered in the wild.  In this paper, we investigate a new perceptual challenge that causes the ADASs and autopilots of semi/fully autonomous to consider depthless objects (phantoms) as real.  We show how attackers can exploit this perceptual challenge to apply phantom attacks and change the abovementioned balance, without the need to physically approach the attack scene, by projecting a phantom via a drone equipped with a portable projector or by presenting a phantom on a hacked digital billboard that faces the Internet and is located near roads.

How will Self-Driving Cars Impact Cities?  Today, cars and cities are inextricably linked, and this will continue as the future is dominated by self-driving vehicles.  But the tie-up means both will have to evolve in unison, say experts steeped in autonomous vehicles, smart city technologies and urban studies.  To wit: self-driving vehicles must learn to navigate complex environments filled with pedestrians and other obstacles while cities become modified to accommodate them.

Tesla's 'smart summon' feature is causing fender benders, parking lot jams.  These self-driving cars wouldn't pass a learner's permit test.  A feature unveiled last week by Tesla allows owners to "summon" their rides with a smartphone from up to 200 feet away — but the rollout has not been smooth.  A number of owners using the "Smart Summon" feature have shared videos and photos of their Teslas causing fender benders and other parking lot jams as the unoccupied cars navigated the roadway.

Tesla driver apparently caught sleeping at the wheel going 60 mph.  The driver of a Tesla on autopilot appeared to be asleep behind the wheel while whizzing along a Massachusetts highway, new video shows.  A fellow motorist captured the driver with his head slumped forward — and his passenger equally zonked out — along I-90 on Sunday [9/8/2019].  "Some guy literally asleep at the wheel on the Mass Pike (great place for it)," tweeted fellow motorist Dakota Randall with the clip.  "Teslas are sick, I guess?"

Tesla car was on Autopilot when it hit a Culver City firetruck, NTSB finds.  A government report says the driver of a Tesla sedan that slammed into a Culver City firetruck on the 405 Freeway last year was using the car's Autopilot system when a vehicle in front of him suddenly changed lanes and he didn't have time to react.  The National Transportation Safety Board said Tuesday that the driver never saw the parked firetruck and didn't brake.  Apparently the man's 2014 Tesla Model S didn't brake either.

The "New Energy Economy": An Exercise in Magical Thinking.  Green enthusiasts make extravagant claims about the effect of Uber-like options and self-driving cars.  However, the data show that the economic efficiencies from Uberizing have so far increased the use of cars and peak urban congestion.  Similarly, many analysts now see autonomous vehicles amplifying, not dampening, that effect.  That's because people, and thus markets, are focused on economic efficiency and not on energy efficiency.  The former can be associated with reducing energy use; but it is also, and more often, associated with increased energy demand.  Cars use more energy per mile than a horse, but the former offers enormous gains in economic efficiency.  Computers, similarly, use far more energy than pencil-and-paper.

Makers of self-driving cars should study Boeing crashes.  As in-vehicle distractions multiply, drivers are challenged to maintain safe operation.  Self-driving cars are supposed to eliminate distractions by relieving drivers of their operational role, save for command instructions like "Take me to the nearest supermarket."  [Brooke] Masters suggests that human driving skills atrophy from neglect and disuse.  Self-driving vehicle technology deployments will accelerate carbon-based driver skill erosion.

How driverless cars choose who to kill is an ethical dilemma.  Slowly but surely, work on self-driving cars is progressing.  Crashes still happen, tragic accidents come to pass every once in a while, and autonomous vehicles still make stupid mistakes that the most novice human drivers would avoid.  But eventually, scientists and researchers will teach our cars to see the world and drive the streets on a level that equates or exceeds the skills of most human drivers. [...] Accidents will become very rare happenings.  But accidents will happen, and the question is, how should self-driving cars make decisions when a fatal accident and loss of life is inevitable?  As it happens, we can't make a definite decision.

Wielding Rocks and Knives, Arizonans Attack Self-Driving Cars.  The assailant slipped out of a park around noon one day in October, zeroing in on his target, which was idling at a nearby intersection — a self-driving van operated by Waymo, the driverless-car company spun out of Google.  He carried out his attack with an unidentified sharp object, swiftly slashing one of the tires.

Electronic driving systems don't always work, tests show.  Testing by AAA shows that electronic driver assist systems on the road today may not keep vehicles in their lanes or spot stationary objects in time to avoid a crash.  The tests brought a warning from the auto club that drivers shouldn't think that the systems make their vehicles self-driving, and that they should always be ready to take control.  AAA also said that use of the word "pilot" by automakers in naming their systems can make some owners believe the vehicles can drive themselves.

The dream of driverless cars is dying.  I was worried that going to the autonomous vehicle exhibition in Stuttgart would be tantamount to an atheist walking into St Peter's while the Pope was conducting a mass.  There is something religious about the fervour with which adherents to the driverless credo practise their faith and promise us a new kingdom.  Their proselytising has indeed convinced many.  Politicians are making outlandish statements, such as Jesse Norman's two weeks ago, that 'Our entire use of roads is to be revolutionised by autonomous vehicles', and pouring large sums — a promised £180 million so far — into bizarre research projects such as the development of strange robot cars slower than a Reliant Robin and allowed only on pavements in Milton Keynes. [...] The assumption that this technology will soon transform our lives has been speeded along by gullible journalists who fail to look beyond the extravagant claims of the press releases pouring out of tech companies and auto manufacturers, hailing the imminence of major developments that never seem to materialise.

Autonomous cars on US roads with no brake pedals, steering wheels just edged closer.  Road users in the US may soon see self-driving cars without human controls under a pilot program proposed by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  The agency is seeking public feedback on a proposed pilot to test vehicles "that lack controls for human drivers and thus may not comply with all existing safety standards" and do so in real-world scenarios, it said in a document released Thursday [10/4/2018].  As noted by Reuters, NHTSA said vehicles in the program may need features to disable them if a sensor fails or limit their maximum speeds.  The pilot would aim to test autonomous vehicles rated as Level 4 and Level 5, which are respectively fully autonomous vehicles with a safe fallback mode, and fully autonomous vehicles without human controls, such as brake and accelerator pedals or steering wheels.

Drivers Wildly Overestimate What 'Semiautonomous' Cars Can Do.  Euro NCAP, an independent European car safety assessment group (similar to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in the US) has just released the results of its first round of tests of 10 new cars with driver-assistance technologies.  It also published the results of a survey of over 1,500 car owners in seven countries, asking them what they believe these cars are capable of.  "Seventy percent of people believe you can buy autonomous cars," says Matthew Avery, head of research at the UK's Thatcham Research, a Euro NCAP member.  Eleven percent said they'd be tempted to have a nap, read a paper, or watch a film while using one of the highway-assist features available today, even though every automaker peddling the tech requires drivers to pay attention to the road at all times.  "It's really worrying that consumers are believing the hype."

Tesla removes 'Full Self-Driving Capability' package from its options due to 'confusion'.  In a somewhat controversial move, Tesla is removing the option to buy its 'Full Self-Driving Capability' package from the online design studios of its vehicles.  The option itself was controversial from the beginning when it was introduced with the Autopilot 2.0 hardware in 2016.  At the time, Tesla said that it would release self-driving capability through over-the-air updates after validating the software and having regulatory approval.

Ford proposes a future without traffic lights.  Vehicle-to-everything communications technology, more commonly referred to as V2X, is poised to change the way cars operate in the very near future.  Numerous automakers are working on V2X systems, some of which are already available.  Among those automakers is Ford which thinks the tech could one day eliminate traffic lights.  The automaker announced Wednesday [10/10/2018] it will trial an Intersection Priority Management (IPM) system on the streets of Milton Keynes, United Kingdom.  The system is Ford's way of demonstrating that cars may not always have to stop for an intersection or traffic sign.

Elon Musk said a Tesla could drive itself across the country by 2018. One just crashed backing out of a garage.  When Mangesh Gururaj's wife left home to pick up their child from math lessons one Sunday this month, she turned on her Tesla Model S and hit "Summon," a self-parking feature that the electric automaker has promoted as a central step toward driverless cars.  But as the $65,000 sedan reversed itself out of the garage, Gururaj said, the car bashed into a wall, ripping off its front end with a loud crack.  He said the damaged Tesla looked like it would have kept driving if his wife hadn't hit the brakes.

Utah woman sues Tesla over 'Autopilot' crash.  The woman who was behind the wheel of a Tesla that crashed into a fire truck at high speeds in South Jordan is suing Tesla and a service provider, saying the Autopilot feature failed to work as advertised.  According to a lawsuit filed Tuesday [9/4/2018], Heather P. Lommatzsch is suing Tesla Inc., Tesla Motors Utah Inc, and Service King Paint & Body over the crash, which occurred in May of this year.  The lawsuit alleges negligence and breach of warranty on the part of Tesla and negligence on the part of Service King, stating that the vehicle's Autopilot mode failed to stop the vehicle before it crashed into the back of a Unified Fire Authority fire truck at a high rate of speed.

Chariots of Death and Indecision.  There was no spontaneous collective cry from the driving public demanding an autonomous car. [...] Insurance industry statisticians provided a compelling case for savings in car accident and medical payouts.  Urban planners saw the future in which a maze of closely spaced cars all moved to their destinations without accidents and with maximum efficiency in roadway use.  Better fuel usage and fewer vehicle emissions appealed to the environmentalists.  Government agencies envisioned a vehicle tracking system able to find any vehicle, anywhere, all the time.

Franken-algorithms: the deadly consequences of unpredictable code.  he 18th of March 2018, was the day tech insiders had been dreading.  That night, a new moon added almost no light to a poorly lit four-lane road in Tempe, Arizona, as a specially adapted Uber Volvo XC90 detected an object ahead.  Part of the modern gold rush to develop self-driving vehicles, the SUV had been driving autonomously, with no input from its human backup driver, for 19 minutes.  An array of radar and light-emitting lidar sensors allowed onboard algorithms to calculate that, given their host vehicle's steady speed of 43 mph, the object was six seconds away — assuming it remained stationary.  But objects in roads seldom remain stationary, so more algorithms crawled a database of recognizable mechanical and biological entities, searching for a fit from which this one's likely behavior could be inferred.  At first the computer drew a blank; seconds later, it decided it was dealing with another car, expecting it to drive away and require no special action.  Only at the last second was a clear identification found — a woman with a bike, shopping bags hanging confusingly from handlebars, doubtless assuming the Volvo would route around her as any ordinary vehicle would.  Barred from taking evasive action on its own, the computer abruptly handed control back to its human master, but the master wasn't paying attention.

Police Want the Ability to Control Self-Driving Cars.  It seems the number of perplexing regulatory questions relating to self-driving cars are piling up as fast as automakers can create workable prototypes.  So will we have it all settled by the time these autonomous vehicles are "street-ready?" A new report suggests — maybe not.  Reuters recently covered a 39-page summary of a March meeting amongst regulatory stakeholders, including the federal DOT and several industry groups, where they settled on a fairly scary thesis:  that the question is not IF but WHEN a massive cyberattack targeting autonomous vehicles would occur, and that it was imperative to spend time now in preparation.

Will Autonomous Autos End Up Legislating You Off the Road?  Bob Lutz, a fixture in the Detroit auto industry for 47 years, told the Michigan Venture Capital Association early this month that "human-driven cars will be forced off the roads by safety regulators" in the near future because they will "mess up the autonomous environment."  "I will absolutely guarantee that electronic technology in autonomous vehicles is going to reduce serious and fatal accidents in the United States by at least 90 percent," said Lutz who was most recently the vice chairman of General Motors until 2010.  And he promised the accident rate would fall even further once human beings were outlawed from sitting behind steering wheels.

Will Government Be Able to Remotely Control Your Car?  In May, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published its "Preliminary Statement of Policy Concerning Automated Vehicles."  It pointed to a "continuum" of automobile development that "runs from vehicles with no active control systems all the way to full automation and self-driving." [...] But, if the driver does not control the vehicle, who does?

Dockless bicycles and scooters:

Lime Wants a Revolution.  Near San Francisco's bustling Fisherman's Wharf in the middle of the afternoon two weeks ago, a 69-year-old woman took what was likely the last e-scooter ride of her life.  It's not clear who struck who at Embarcadero and Bay, but the point is moot.  The scooter collided with a massive cement truck, the sort of cataclysmic transportation asymmetry now endangering lives and disrupting communities all over the world.  The city bears some blame.  It had been tragically slow to deal with the upsurge in e-scooters and e-bikes.

NYC bicyclists are killing pedestrians and the city won't stop it.  Mayor Bill de Blasio has aggressively pushed a bike-friendly agenda, adding about 100 miles of dedicated lanes for cyclists amid a spike in rider collisions, but he's done little to address the danger that bikers themselves pose.  Since 2011, bicyclists have injured more than 2,250 pedestrians — including at least seven who died — according to stats from the city Department of Transportation and published reports.  Injuries are up 12 percent this year, rising to 127 through June 30 from 113 over the same period in 2018, the NYPD says.

Viral video shows youth tossing scooters into Detroit River, damaging property.  Detroit Police have a message for a band of hellions responsible for flinging scooters into the Detroit River, rolling the contraptions downhill in an attempt to knock people down and pushing a man to the ground.  They're coming for you.  The antics were caught in a viral video making the rounds on social media.

Oregon deputies pull out 57 electric scooters, bikes out of Portland river.  A sheriff's office in Oregon recently disclosed it hauled dozens of electric scooters and bicycles out of a major river in Portland.  The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday [6/26/2019] on Twitter the department's dive team recovered a total of 57 scooters and bikes over a two-day period in the Willamette River in Portland.

Boulder to consider emergency moratorium on commercial electric scooters.  Boulder might see a temporary moratorium on commercial electric scooter companies, as well as ongoing restrictions on where e-scooters are allowed in the city.  City council on Tuesday [5/21/2019] will hold a public hearing on an emergency ordinance that would prohibit the issuance of business licenses to commercial operators, as well as the use of e-scooters on sidewalks, bike paths and open space until February.  The temporary moratorium, staff reasoned, would buy the city time to iron out possible regulations for commercial e-scooters in Boulder.

Scooter use is rising in major cities.  So are trips to the emergency room.  They have been pouring into emergency rooms around the nation all summer, their bodies bearing a blend of injuries that doctors normally associate with victims of car wrecks — broken noses, wrists and shoulders, facial lacerations and fractures, as well as the kind of blunt head trauma that can leave brains permanently damaged.  When doctors began asking patients to explain their injuries, many were surprised to learn that the surge of broken body parts stemmed from the latest urban transportation trend:  shared electric scooters.

Lime halts scooter service in Switzerland after possible software glitch throws users off mid-ride.  Just as on-demand electric scooters are trying to pick up speed in Europe, one of the scooter market's most ambitious startups has halted operations in one country after its e-scooters started halting mid-ride, throwing off and injuring passengers.  Lime, the Uber-backed bike and scooter rental company that is reportedly raising money at between a $2 billion and $3 billion valuation, has pulled its full fleet of scooters in Switzerland, in the cities of Basel and Zurich, for safety checks after multiple reports of people injuring themselves after their scooters braked abruptly while in use.

Newport Beach Bans Electric Scooters After 3 Days.  A flock of 50 Bird dockless electric scooters that arrived at the Newport Beach Peninsula last weekend without a permit caused lots of complaints and were promptly banned by the city.  The virally popular dockless scooters that rent at $1, plus $.15 per minute, are the hottest transportation trend in 2018.  Although electric scooter riders are supposed to be 18 years old, have a California driver's license, and wear their own helmets, the bike rental is by cell phone app, and there is virtually no way to prevent underage or reckless riders.

Minneapolis City Council Approves Dockless Bike Pilot Program.  On Friday morning [5/11/2018], the Minneapolis City Council approved a contract amendment with Nice Ride to operate the dockless bike pilot program.  "One of the biggest concerns that I have is how are we going to be able to keep the public right of way clear of bikes just laying all around the city," Councilmember Andrea Jenkins asked.  Seattle, San Diego, and Dallas have similar programs.  Each city has had to deal with bikes that are destroyed, piled up or end up in a river.

Dockless bikes promise the future of transportation, but litter the city of Dallas.  Dockless bike-share startups, already common in China, have been making their way into the U.S. The idea is simple and utopian — easily accessible, low-cost bikes that people can grab, use and leave just about anywhere.  The problem, however, is they do leave them anywhere — and everywhere.

Renewable energy:

This subsection has moved to a page of its own, located here.

Miscellaneous / everything:

The Future Of Power Generation.  The current consensus on energy and climate is both unserious and incoherent.  Burning fossil fuels is said to be responsible for global warming due to carbon dioxide emissions.  Although nuclear power is a carbon-free energy solution, much of the public seems to be more afraid of a reactor accident than extinction by the greenhouse effect.  Solar and energy conservation have been media darlings since the energy crisis of the 1970s.  President Barack Obama spent $100 billion on "green energy" in just one stimulus package.  Yet there is little to show for it.  World energy use is projected to grow rapidly.  Solar accounts for only one percent of energy production.  Although I can't agree with his conclusions, Director Jeff Gibbs did an outstanding job of skewering solar energy in [...] Planet of the Humans.  (Michael Moore is executive producer.)  Ethanol, hydrogen-powered cars, solar cells, and other supposedly renewable solutions are exposed as frauds that are dependent on fossil fuel once you scratch the surface.  Brazil's forests are being converted to sugar cane and burned as part of the ethanol scam that Goldman Sachs promotes.  The manufacturing process requires a great deal of electric power.  There is an amusing scene in the film where a manager explains that Iowa is the perfect location for an ethanol plant because it is near coal deposits.

The world needs more energy, not green BS.  Earlier this month, a report from the United Nations University's Institute for Water, Environment and Health announced that 'fecal sludge' might be one answer to several of the world's problems.  According to the authors of Valuing Human Waste as an Energy Resource, if the excrement produced by those who lack access to sanitation — a billion people — was collected and processed, 10 million homes could be provided with electricity.  And this would amount to $200 million-a-year worth of biogas.

The Editor says...
Stop for a moment and do some of mental arithmetic.  [#1]  Can 200 million dollars worth of biogas power 10 million homes for a year?  Can you power your house for a month for only $1.67?  [#2] The sewage from 100 people might be enough to power one house, they say.  But unfortunately, they're 100 people who lack access to sanitation, so how will all that poop be collected, and stored, and transported to a central plant for processing, if these people live in such a backward country that they don't have sanitation?  The people at the UN who are pushing these half-baked ideas are counting on you to accept them without thinking.

As 'meat replacements' grow more popular, experts express skepticism, uncertainty.  The growing popularity of "meat replacements" in the U.S. food economy is tempered in part by the uncertain long-term health and ecological effects that those products may engender, according to experts.  Companies such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have made waves for crafting "plant-based" foods to closely resemble meat, including the "Impossible Burger" and various other permutations of mock meat products.  This week, Beyond Meat announced a new line of plant-based "chicken tenders" debuting at numerous restaurant chains across the country.  The product is "crafted to look, cook and taste like traditional animal-based chicken tenders," the company said, but it is an entirely "plant-based innovation" with a significantly different nutritional profile from meat.

Goodyear to phase out petroleum-based tires with soybeans by 2040.  For decades engineers have used petroleum to make everyday products.  It's still commonly used in everything from rubbers and plastics to chemicals and asphalt.  But this useful product comes from crude oil, which is often criticized by activists and experts as harmful to the environment, citing oil spills and fracking incidents.  Recent studies from the last decade have shown that petroleum isn't as efficient as some once thought.  Now, companies, engineers and scientists aim to replace it with plant-based oils, specifically soybeans.  The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. recently announced its goal to replace all petroleum-based products with soybean oil by 2040.

The Editor says...
What problem does this solve?  When tires are made from soybeans, and gasoline is made with ethanol (i.e., corn), food prices will increase rapidly.  Apparently a lot of CEO's have never heard, "If it works, don't fix it."

Google, Boston Review Promote Rolling Blackouts to Cut CO2 Emissions.  Among the top Google News search results today for "climate change" is an article published by the Boston Review calling for Third World-style electricity blackouts in the United States to fight climate change.  According to the article, American households are unnecessarily spoiled by experiencing an average of only six hours per year without electricity.  Instead, government should impose frequent "planned interruptions" of power to force households to use less electricity and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.  The Google-promoted article, titled "To Save the Climate, Give Up the Demand for Constant Electricity," argues that "Each household demanding continuous electricity marginally exacerbates the climate crisis."  "Waiting to ensure uninterrupted power for everyone as we transition away from fossil fuels will cost too much time — and too many lives," the article adds.

Not so Green.  [Scroll down]  Green Energy isn't green.  It has a huge cost in rare metals; it creates toxic waste problems; solar panels create solar deserts; turbines chop birds and steal wind and rain from inland areas; and now they want to steal fresh water and energy to export low-energy explosive hydrogen.In contrast, coal is fossil sunshine.  Burning it releases new energy for industry and its combustion products bring great benefits for the green world -water vapour, carbon dioxide plant food, and valuable plant micro-nutrients.

The Life and Death of the Tiny Home Trend.  The tiny home trend has been hard to ignore over the last several years.  The increasingly saturated market of TV shows and Pinterest pictures dedicated to the topic of exploring micro-dwellings where your home is reduced to the size of a walk-in-closet and each room takes on a triple-duty programmatic role.  What looks enticing on reality TV is often much less desirable in real life, and as people increasingly long for a style that frees them of material goods and the ability to travel, what does this mean for the actuality of tiny home construction?

Statins may not slash the risk of dying from heart disease:  Controversial study claims the cheap cholesterol-busting pills offer no 'consistent benefit'.  Statins are not particularly effective at reducing the risk of dying from heart disease, a study claims.  Scientists analysed 35 studies into the effects of the drugs which lower 'bad' LDL cholesterol and found the pills have no consistent benefit.  The research, published in the British Medical Journal, found three quarters of all trials reported no reduction in mortality among those who took the drugs.

About Those 'Green Energy' Unicorns...  [Scroll down]  As [Mark P.] Mills points out, among the reality of "green energy" are:
  •   Building wind turbines and solar panels to generate electricity, as well as batteries to fuel electric vehicles, requires, on average, more than 10 times the quantity of materials, compared with building machines using hydrocarbons to deliver the same amount of energy to society.
  •   A single electric car contains more cobalt than 1,000 smartphone batteries; the blades on a single wind turbine have more plastic than 5 million smartphones; and a solar array that can power one data center uses more glass than 50 million phones.
  •   Replacing hydrocarbons with green machines under current plans — never mind aspirations for far greater expansion — will vastly increase the mining of various critical minerals around the world.  For example, a single electric car battery weighing 1,000 pounds requires extracting and processing some 500,000 pounds of materials.  Averaged over a battery's life, each mile of driving an electric car "consumes" five pounds of earth.  Using an internal combustion engine consumes about 0.2 pounds of liquids per mile.
  •   Oil, natural gas, and coal are needed to produce the concrete, steel, plastics, and purified minerals used to build green machines.  The energy equivalent of 100 barrels of oil is used in the processes to fabricate a single battery that can store the equivalent of one barrel of oil.
  •   By 2050, with current plans, the quantity of worn-out solar panels — much of it nonrecyclable — will constitute double the tonnage of all today's global plastic waste, along with over 3 million tons per year of unrecyclable plastics from worn-out wind turbine blades.  By 2030, more than 10 million tons per year of batteries will become garbage.

Your electric car and vegetarian diet are pointless virtue signaling in the fight against climate change.  Switch to energy-efficient light bulbs, wash your clothes in cold water, eat less meat, recycle more, and buy an electric car:  We are being bombarded with instructions from climate campaigners, environmentalists and the media about the everyday steps we all must take to tackle climate change. [...] For example, the British nature-documentary presenter and environmental campaigner David Attenborough was once asked what he as an individual would do to fight climate change.  He promised to unplug his phone charger when it wasn't in use.  Attenborough's heart is no doubt in the right place.  But even if he consistently unplugs his charger for a year, the resulting reduction in carbon-dioxide emissions will be equivalent to less than one-half of one-thousandth of the average person's annual CO2 emissions in the United Kingdom.  Moreover, charging accounts for less than 1% of a phone's energy needs; the other 99% is required to manufacture the handset and operate data centers and cell towers.  Almost everywhere, these processes are heavily reliant on fossil fuels.

Paper towels beat air dryers against viruses, small study finds.  Frequent hand-washing with soap and water is key to preventing the spread of coronavirus, but what's the best way to dry your hands afterward?  In a new, small study, British researchers found paper towels were better than the air dryers often found in public restrooms at getting rid of germs that are still on your hands after you wash them.

Canola oil is the biggest hidden health 'danger' at the prepared food bar.  Canola oil, or rapeseed oil, is one of those ubiquitous oils used in restaurants, delis, even organic food stores for baking and the deli bar.  It's cheap, plentiful and nearly all of the canola oil you buy at a regular grocery store is genetically modified.  But that's not the only reason it's not good for you, or your digestive system, according to this report from Natural News.

'Like sending bees to war': the deadly truth behind your almond-milk obsession.  Dennis Arp was feeling optimistic last summer, which is unusual for a beekeeper these days.  Thanks to a record wet spring, his hundreds of hives, scattered across the central Arizona desert, produced a bounty of honey.  Arp would have plenty to sell in stores, but more importantly, the bumper harvest would strengthen his bees for their biggest task of the coming year.  Like most commercial beekeepers in the US, at least half of Arp's revenue now comes from pollinating almonds.

Almond Milk Is Even More Evil Than You Thought.  In the past five years, almond milk consumption in the United States has exploded over 250 percent.  The lower-calorie, vegan milk alternative is a staple in grocery stores and coffee shops across the country now, but its booming popularity comes at a heavy environmental cost.  According to a new report from the Guardian this week, the titanic and growing demands of the California almond industry are placing a huge strain on the hives of bees used to pollinate their orchards, wiping out billions of honeybees in a matter of months.  "My yard is currently filled with stacks of empty bee boxes that used to contain healthy hives," Dennis Arp, a commercial beekeeper, told the Guardian.  Like many of his peers, nearly half of Arp's income comes from renting out his hives to pollinate almonds.  But now, he says, he loses 30 percent or more of his bees a year, a number that's on par for many beekeepers in the U.S. One survey of commercial beekeepers found that 50 billion honeybees were wiped out in just a few months during the winter of 2018-19.

Going Fully Organic Would Drive Up Greenhouse Gas Emissions:  Study.  Greenhouse gas emissions would be driven up if the world's agriculture were to be converted to organic farming, a new study suggests.  Researchers from Cranfield University said that if England and Wales switched to a 100 percent organic diet, it would lead to an increase in carbon dioxide emissions, because methods used for organic farming take up a greater amount of land.  Compared to conventional farming, greenhouse emissions could rise by 21 percent, the study found.

Cities are banning drive-thrus to improve Americans' health — but will it work?  A growing number of local legislatures in cities across the country want to put an end to drive-thru windows.  In August, Minneapolis became the latest city to pass an ordinance banning the construction of new restaurant drive-thrus.  Officials say the ban will help curb pollution, make the city more walkable and improve health problems pertaining to obesity.  Other places that have enacted similar measures say they are aiming to combat traffic, cut carbon monoxide emissions and litter.  But fear not, Chick-fil-A fiends, the zoning changes currently in effect only affect new construction.  Thus far, cities in California, Missouri and New Jersey have implemented similar bans.

The Editor says...
This is the first time I've heard a claim that drive-through windows increase carbon monoxide emissions.  But you see, the customers at a drive-through window are outdoors, and the occupants of the next car in line are exposed to carbon monoxide anyway, just by driving to the restaurant, or anywhere else.  (Incidentally, the natural concentration of carbon monoxide in air is around 0.2 parts per million (ppm), and that amount is not harmful to humans.[*])

The False Promise of Fish Oil Supplements.  Consumers have been told so many times that dietary fish oil supplements promote heart health that it seems to be accepted as factual.  But this conventional thinking is not supported by the science.  After decades of promises that fish oil "may work," the lack of demonstrated benefit leads me to conclude that consumers are wasting their money on supplements in an effort to reduce cardiovascular risk.

Greenland's 'Record Temperature' denied — the data was wrong.  Greenland's all-time record temperature wasn't a record at all, and it never got above freezing there.

Study:  Millions should stop taking aspirin for heart health.  Millions of people who take aspirin to prevent a heart attack may need to rethink the pill-popping, Harvard researchers reported Monday [7/22/2019].  A daily low-dose aspirin is recommended for people who have already had a heart attack or stroke and for those diagnosed with heart disease.

Making America Venezuela:  The left is coming for your toilet paper.  Apparently toilet paper is the new plastic straw of the green lobby, and they're out to put a stop to it. [...] And greenies can't even get their stories straight.  If saving toilet paper is the aim, why are they targeting Charmin, which in this lefty review, is the best toilet paper to use because users use LESS of it, based on its superior absorption capacities, quite unlike that flimsy scratchy recycled stuff.

How Bureaucrats Ruin Everything From Dishwashers To Gas Cans To Cars.  Have you ever wondered why dishwashers today take twice as long to do a worse job of cleaning dishes?  Or why it's so much harder to get gasoline out of a new gas can?  Or why cars made decades ago always turn heads, while today's are drab in the same way?  There's a simple answer to these modern-day mysteries:  Government regulators.  Take the dishwasher.  Earlier this month, the Department of Energy announced that it would revise its rules regarding dishwasher efficiency.  Why?  Because the existing rules — which set limits on how much electricity and water a dishwasher may use — are forcing manufacturers to build machines that are worse than ever.

Low-dose aspirin linked to bleeding in the skull, new report says.  Taking low-dose aspirin to prevent heart disease and stroke is associated with an increased risk of bleeding in the skull in people without a history of those conditions, according to a new report.  Researchers analyzed data from 13 previous studies in which over 130,000 people ages 42 to 74, who didn't have a history of heart disease or stroke, were given either low-dose aspirin or a placebo for the prevention of these conditions.

False flag environmentalism is dangerous for America and the world.  Current, unabated flooding taking place seasonally in the US is over green insanity in the Missouri River Basin, Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota.  This began when "Congress in 2004 under pressure from environmental organizations approved a revision to the Master Water Control Manual (MWCM)."  This allowed the U.S. Corps of Engineers to have the authority via the US Congress permission to flood eight states in the MWCM.  The MWCM's original mandate was flood control, but now the Corp "are utilizing dams in a way for which they were never designed — to attempt to mimic the natural cycles of the river through the season."  This environmental fragmentation of using emotion over reason has caused billions in damage and cost many lives and family destruction all in the name of "wild rivers" being returned to their natural habitat.

Hypothesis: Radical Greens are the Great Killers of Our Age.  Here is some of the supporting evidence:
  •   The banning of DDT from ~1972 to 2002, which caused the malaria deaths of tens of millions of children under five years of age, and sickened and killed many more adults and children;
  •   The fierce green opposition to golden rice, actions that blinded and killed millions of children;
  •   The misallocation of scarce global resources for destructive intermittent "green energy" schemes, which are not green and produce little useful (dispatchable) energy;
  •   Properly allocated, a fraction of the trillions of dollars squandered on green energy schemes could have installed clean drinking water and sanitation systems into every community on the planet, saving the lives of many tens of millions of children and adults; [...]
  •   The number of Excess Winter Deaths and shattered lives caused by runaway energy costs in the developed world and lack of access to modern energy in the developing world probably exceeds the tens of millions of malaria deaths caused by the DDT ban; [...]
  •   Indoor air pollution from cooking fires kills many women and children in the developing world;
  •   In addition to runaway energy costs and increased winter deaths, intermittent wind and solar power schemes have reduced grid reliability and increased the risk of power outages;

False flag environmentalism is dangerous for America and the world.  The current United States (US) environmental movement is dangerous for America and the world — because of how many times their predictions are wrong — which is normally 100% of the time.

Green Luddites Are Coming for Your House, Car, and Freedom.  Like so much coming from the corporate Left in America, probably the most dangerous aspect of this column is the blithe presumption that its premises are beyond debate.  The climate will change catastrophically, and emissions from burning fossil fuel are the culprit.  Low-density housing is the reason fossil fuel emissions remain too high.  Public transportation is a good thing.  Just hold on.  Stop right there.  Emissions of CO2 may not change the climate very much at all, and the cost of precipitously curtailing them condemns billions of people around the world to prolonged poverty and misery.  And in any case, high-density housing is creating more CO2 emissions, because existing roads cannot handle the increased traffic.  And no, public transportation is not always a good thing.

Despite California's long drought, trillions of gallons of rainwater [are] wastefully flowing into sea.  California's rainy season could be the wettest in 40 years, but experts say the state is missing a major opportunity by failing to collect the trillions of gallons of storm runoff that currently flows wastefully into the ocean.  "We will never capture it all, but we need to do a better job of capturing what we can," said Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute.  In February alone, an estimated 18 trillion gallons of water fell on the state.  In urban areas and coastal cities, 80 percent ends up diverted into the ocean, as Los Angeles and other cities built long concrete channels for flood control.  The Los Angeles River, for example, is a 51-mile-long canal as wide as a football field.  Almost none of the water seeps into the underground aquifer.

Appliance standards often cost more than they save.  In 1987, DOE began regulating the energy use of air conditioners, refrigerators, washer/dryers, ovens, water heaters, and just about everything else that plugs in or fires up around the house.  Ever since, the agency has periodically revisited and tightened these standards, as many as four times for some products.  The goal is to reduce energy bills, but even DOE admits that for some consumers, these standards raise the up-front price of appliances more than what will be earned back in the form of energy savings.  This was particularly true of air conditioner standards but also refrigerators and several others.  Low-income and senior households are most likely to experience net costs, according to the agency.

Air conditioners save 20,000 lives in USA each year.  Over the last century there was a remarkable decline in deaths due to hot days and heatwaves.  (Not that the media seem keen to say so).  Mortality on a hot day declined by fully 75% in the decades after 1960 when air conditioners started to be rolled out.  In the words of the authors from [a] 2016 study, the people of the US have largely adapted in ways that protect them from extreme heat.  The kind of hot days they are talking about happen on average 20 days a year in the US.  There has not been a similar reduction in deaths from cold snaps.

Turning Luddite eco-imperialism into a virtue.  Banks and other carbon colonialists glorify limited wind and solar energy for poor villages, while denying financial support for fossil fuel electricity generation.  Anti-chemical fanatics promote bed nets and narrowly defined "integrated pest management," but bitterly oppose chemical pesticides and the spatial repellant DDT to kill mosquitoes, keep them out of homes and prevent deadly malaria.  Radical organic food groups battle any use of genetically engineered crops that multiply crop yields, survive droughts and slash pesticide spraying by 75% or more.  They even vilify Golden Rice, which enables malnourished children to avoid Vitamin A Deficiency, blindness and death.  Now their struggles are getting worse, as a coalition of well-financed malcontents, agitators and pressure groups once again prove the adage that power politics makes strange bedfellows.  Coalition members share a deep distaste for fossil fuels, petrochemicals (including chemical pesticides and fertilizers), modern agriculture, biotechnology, corporations and capitalism.

Keyless Cars and Their Carbon Monoxide Toll.  It seems like a common convenience in a digital age:  a car that can be powered on and off with the push of a button, rather than the mechanical turning of a key.  But it is a convenience that can have a deadly effect.  On a summer morning last year, Fred Schaub drove his Toyota RAV4 into the garage attached to his Florida home and went into the house with the wireless key fob, evidently believing the car was shut off.  Twenty-nine hours later, he was found dead, overcome with carbon monoxide that flooded his home while he slept.  "After 75 years of driving, my father thought that when he took the key with him when he left the car, the car would be off," said Mr. Schaub's son Doug.  Mr. Schaub is among more than two dozen people killed by carbon monoxide nationwide since 2006 after a keyless-ignition vehicle was inadvertently left running in a garage.  Dozens of others have been injured, some left with brain damage.

Looming Catastrophe:  Power Grid Collapse Now In Sight in New York.  Here is a fascinating and revealing news article behind a paywall that I'm alerting you to.  It is about just a few of the complications that will result from New York State's (NYS) Clean Energy Standard (CES).  It discusses the NYISO (New York State Independent System Operator) 2018 Power Trends Report which (paraphrasing Winston Churchill): ...defends itself against the risk of being read by its very length and obfuscating technical jargon.

'Raw Water'? Natural Isn't Synonymous With Better.  A recently introduced product fad hitting store shelves might just prove to be the death of you.  Popping up across the country and marketed as yet another "healthy" product in that genre of back-to-nature lifestyle craze — "raw water." [...] It is truly ironic that in the developed world, where scientific knowledge and developments have proven to raise living standards, life expectancy and quality of life, there are those who choose to vilify and distort these achievements as problematic, unhealthy and even dangerous, in order to sell Americans on the flawed concept that human technology equates to the unnatural and therefore unhealthy living.  Meanwhile, much of the developing world is plagued with diseases that would have been easily avoided but for the lack of access to clean water technologies.

Therapy animals are everywhere.  Proof that they help is not.  A therapy-animal trend grips the United States. [...] The trend, which has accelerated hugely since its initial stirrings a few decades ago, is underpinned by a widespread belief that interaction with animals can reduce distress — whether it happens over brief caresses at the airport or in long-term relationships at home.  Certainly, the groups offering up pets think this, as do some mental health professionals.  But the popular embrace of pets as furry therapists is kindling growing discomfort among some researchers in the field, who say it has raced far ahead of scientific evidence.

Marijuana DOES cause schizophrenia and triggers heart attacks, experts say in landmark study.  Marijuana does raise the risk of getting schizophrenia and triggers heart attacks, according to the most significant study on the drug's effects to date.  A federal advisory panel admitted cannabis can almost certainly ease chronic pain, and might help some people sleep.  But it dismisses most of the drug's other supposedly 'medical benefits' as unproven.  Crucially, the researchers concluded there is not enough research to say whether marijuana effectively treats epilepsy — one of the most widely-recognized reasons for cannabis prescriptions.

Now more experts claim statins are a waste of time:  They say studies show cutting bad cholesterol fails to slash heart risk.  Millions of patients are being misled about the pros and cons of statins, experts claimed last night.  Accusing the medical establishment of perpetuating a 'great cholesterol con', they questioned whether statin pills are as effective as claimed.  The group of doctors, from Britain, the US, France and Ireland, said the very theory on which statins are based — that lowering 'bad' LDL cholesterol cuts heart disease — is 'fundamentally flawed'.

Energy Star:  Icon Or National Disgrace?  If it's not Energy Star, it's not energy efficient" wasn't just a motto, it's the guiding policy for arguably the most corrupt federal program in US history.  The nexus for the greatest story never told!  97% of climate scientist supposedly believe in the Global Warming theory [which we know is a false claim], but what about cure?  Try to find a single scientist, lawyer, or politician willing to defend EPA's business ventures, or the delusional energy-saving claims made by the ENERGY STAR brand.  Better yet, try to find the scientific evidence supporting EPA's multi-billion dollar claims and you'll quickly understand why Silence is Golden!

Energy Star:  Possibly The Most Corrupt Federal Program In US History.  Energy Star has become a multi-billion dollar Government Sponsored Enterprise (GSE), marketing a single unique and valuable product; government energy efficiency.  This government-created commodity is so rare and precious that it must be kept secret, for fear of undermining its value in Global markets.  Which totally explains the need for a media blackout on all news related to 'energy efficiency' in Obama's Clean Power Plan (CPP), and the fact that the entire 4th Building Block of Obama's CPP had mysteriously disappeared.  Nobody dares to speak of this multi-billion dollar Bait & Switch scam!

Flossing is a complete waste of time.  The federal government has recommended flossing since 1979, first in a surgeon general's report and later in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans issued every five years.

The Editor says...
Conventional wisdom cannot be changed overnight by one report.  (Pluto is still a planet.)  Flossing is still beneficial.  Do not change your personal hygiene habits based on anything you saw, or you think you saw, on this web site.

Gluten-free diet may not be good for healthy kids.  Going gluten-free might not be the healthiest choice for a child who doesn't have celiac disease, according to a new article in The Journal of Pediatrics.  "The increasing popularity of the GFD [gluten-free diet] has important implications for children," writes Norelle R. Reilly, a pediatric gastroenterologist at Columbia University Medical Center and author of the article.  "Parents sometimes place their children on a GFD in the belief that it relieves symptoms, can prevent CD [celiac disease], or is a healthy alternative without previous testing for CD or consultation with a dietitian."

Another 'Scientific Consensus' Bites the Dust.  [Scroll down]  We have heard for a long time now that the so-called "caveman diet" rich in lean meat and low in carbohydrate is a good heart disease preventive.  Well throw out the ground buffalo and kale and make up a plate of spaghetti carbonara — it's not likely to make a big difference in your susceptibility to heart disease.  The same thing is true with the fish oil theory, which is bad news for the diet supplement industry.  Neolithic people with diets rich in aquatic fats still suffered from heart disease.

See Why FL Divers Are Pulling Thousands of Old Tires Out of the Ocean.  Once upon a time, someone thought it'd be a good idea to dump millions of car and truck tires into the Atlantic Ocean.  In 1972, environmentalists believed they could use the piles of rubber to create an artificial reef off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Now, the enormous tire piles on the ocean floor are considered a huge environmental mistake and taxpayers are spending nearly $2 million to clean it up.

No, You Do Not Have to Drink 8 Glasses of Water a Day.  If there is one health myth that will not die, it is this:  You should drink eight glasses of water a day.  It's just not true.  There is no science behind it.  And yet every summer we are inundated with news media reports warning that dehydration is dangerous and also ubiquitous.  These reports work up a fear that otherwise healthy adults and children are walking around dehydrated, even that dehydration has reached epidemic proportions.  Let's put these claims under scrutiny.

Homeowners find green heating units can't take the cold.  During February's bitter chill, some Chapel Hill homeowners found that the homes they bought with the environment in mind could not keep up.  Their brand-new heating systems suddenly stopped working when it got too cold! [...] The "green" furnaces called 90 percent energy efficient are installed in most new homes and are a top choice for those who are replacing their furnace.  They've become a big problem for some homebuyers in the Triangle's largest all-green community, Chatham County's Briar Chapel.

Early exposure 'cuts peanut allergy'.  Eating peanut products as a baby dramatically cuts the risk of allergy, a study reported in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests.  Trials on 628 babies prone to developing peanut allergy found the risk was cut by over 80%.

A $29-billion-dollar-a-year industry.  Two hundred years from now, will historians read about our era and shake their heads and wonder:  How could people have been so gullible as to believe that an essential, life-sustaining substance such as cholesterol was a poison, and poisons such as statins were medicines?  This question is one given new urgency by the latest American Heart Association guidelines on statins, which nearly double the number of people deemed eligible for treatment with these drugs.  It has become received wisdom that cholesterol is bad for you, and therefore a pill that blocks its synthesis must be a good thing.  But matters are not that simple.

Your Probiotic Is Probably B.S..  In the past few years, the number of scientific articles published on the effects of probiotics on everything from cancer to anxiety has jumped from 175 in 2000 to a whopping 1,281 in 2013.  These studies have already begun to show that certain types of probiotics are an effective treatment for some specific conditions.  But there's a problem.  Scientists say that the hype has far outstripped evidence supported by rigorous, peer-reviewed research studies.  Guidance from the FDA isn't clear, either.  What consumers are left with, then, is a confusing array of products that may or may not be able to do what they claim.

Paleo, vegan, gluten-free — the only certainty about health trends is their reversal.  Ever since humans have had enough to eat, we have worried about the right things to eat and devised diets to target various goals, including weight loss, beauty, sexual health and disease prevention.  Nearly every consumable food and beverage, whether organ meats, tomatoes and grain liquor or sugary sodas have been praised, at one point, as a panacea.

Non-Celiac Gluten Sensitivity May Not Exist.  Analyzing the data, [Professor Peter] Gibson found that each treatment diet, whether it included gluten or not, prompted subjects to report a worsening of gastrointestinal symptoms to similar degrees.  Reported pain, bloating, nausea, and gas all increased over the baseline low-FODMAP diet.  Even in the second experiment, when the placebo diet was identical to the baseline diet, subjects reported a worsening of symptoms! [...] Patients reported gastrointestinal distress without any apparent physical cause. Gluten wasn't the culprit; the cause was likely psychological.  Participants expected the diets to make them sick, and so they did.

An Aspirin a Day? Don't Dose Yourself, FDA Says.  Taking an aspirin a day may help prevent heart attack or stroke in some people, but it's not for everyone — and the common drug can have serious side effects that offset the benefits.  That's the reminder Monday from health officials at the federal Food and Drug Administration, who have finally told giant drugmaker Bayer Corp. not to expect the agency to give the go-ahead for labels listing aspirin as a drug for primary prevention of heart attacks and other problems.

Too much running tied to shorter lifespan, studies find.  Running regularly has long been linked to a host of health benefits, including weight control, stress reduction, better blood pressure and cholesterol.  However, recent research suggests there may a point of diminishing returns with running.  A number of studies have suggested that a "moderate" running regimen — a total of two to three hours per week, according to one expert — appears best for longevity, refuting the typical "more is better" mantra for physical activity.

Teenage E-Cigarette Use [is] Likely [to be a] Gateway to Smoking.  E-cigarettes facing municipal bans and scrutiny by U.S. regulators received a new slap on the wrist from scientists:  A report today [3/6/2014] suggests the devices may be a gateway to old-fashioned, cancer-causing smokes for teens.  Youths who reported ever using an e-cigarette had six times the odds of smoking a traditional cigarette than those who never tried the device, according to a study published today in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.  E-cigarette use didn't stop young smokers from partaking in regular cigarettes as well.

New study adds to evidence that mammograms do not save lives.  A new study has added to growing evidence that yearly mammogram screenings do not reduce the chance that a woman will die of breast cancer and confirms earlier findings that many abnormalities detected by these X-rays would never have proved fatal, even if untreated.

The health-care myths we live by.  Swedish researchers report that antioxidants make cancers worse in mice.  It's already known that the antioxidant beta-carotene exacerbates lung cancers in humans.  Not exactly what you'd expect given the extravagant — and incessant — claims you hear made about the miraculous effects of antioxidants.  In fact, they are either useless or harmful, conclude the editors of the prestigious Annals of Internal Medicine.

Multivitamin researchers say "case is closed" after studies find no health benefits.  "Enough" with the multivitamins already.  That's the message from doctors behind three new studies and an editorial that tackled an oft-debated question in medicine:  Do daily multivitamins make you healthier?  After reviewing the available evidence and conducting new trials, the authors have come to a conclusion of "no."

What happens if sequestered CO2 is somehow released in a big cloud into a populated area?  Bhopal!
Rules that could 'kill'? Safety, cost concerns over EPA's new coal regs.  The EPA, by Friday, is expected to release a new proposal to set the first-ever carbon dioxide limits for new power plants.  To meet those emissions caps, power plants would likely have to use what is known as "carbon-capture technology," which involves burying the carbon underground.  The technology, which is still under development, remains expensive and not commercially available.  But there are lingering safety risks.

Dam construction to reduce greenhouse gases causes ecosystem disruption .  Researchers conclude in a new report that a global push for small hydropower projects, supported by various nations and also the Kyoto Protocol to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, may cause unanticipated and potentially significant losses of habitat and biodiversity.

Is Greek yogurt hurting the environment?  While it takes one cup of milk to produce one cup of traditional yogurt, it takes at least three cups of milk to produce a single cup of the thicker, healthier Greek variety.  That's because Greek yogurt is a "strained" version of the dairy product, meaning it's been stripped of whey, a watery byproduct.  All that excess whey — known as "acid whey" because of its high level of acidity — isn't necessarily dangerous in itself.  However, it's incredibly difficult to dispose of because simply dumping it could lead to serious consequences.

Battling bottle ban in Concord.  A new shot has been fired in the battle in Concord over the plastic water bottle ban, with opponents now vowing to repeal the controversial law — considered the first of its kind in the nation — that went into effect Tuesday [1/1/2013].

No benefit in drinking eight glasses of water a day, scientists say.  The idea that drinking eight glasses of water a day is good for your health has been dismissed as a myth.  Scientists say there is no evidence drinking large amounts of water is beneficial for the average healthy person, and do not even know how this widely held belief came about.

Treehuggers Against Trees:  When the pioneers first entered the great forests of America, they found that the Native Americans had managed the forests for centuries.  Their woodlands contained very few big trees — maybe fifty such trees per acre.  Apparently the Indians had set regular, low intensity fires which burned away accumulations of undergrowth, deadwood, dying trees and particularly small trees growing between the big trees.  The larger trees were unharmed, because of their thick fire-resistant bark.  These fires kept the forest healthy by providing a barrier to disease.

Save The Earth — Hug A Logger.  As environmental alarmists entertain themselves by turning off lights, their efforts sometimes lead to unintended consequences.  A new study, for example, shows they may be warming the earth by saving trees.

How Green Is a Fake Christmas Tree?  Although some fakes are crafted from recyclable material, about 85 percent of artificial trees are made in China from the petroleum-based plastics polyethylene or polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as PVC or vinyl.  The natural-tree industry says PVC could contain lead and is potentially harmful to workers manufacturing it.  And any plastic tree will someday end up in a landfill, where it could take millions of years to disintegrate.  From a consumer perspective, PVC trees are only dangerous if they catch fire, producing the toxic, highly acidic gas hydrogen chloride.

Carbon Nanotubes:  The New Asbestos?  Nanotechnology experts are calling for prompt government action to ensure that carbon nanotubes are properly regulated, after researchers discovered that some carbon nanotubes can cause precancerous growths in the same way that asbestos does.

Environmentalists always say, "If only we could learn from the dolphins..."
Baby Dolphin Murders Blamed on US Military.  These aquatic mammals where literally beaten to death with multiple internal injuries, lacerations, contusions and the like.  Back in 1997 the whole C.S.I. treatment was given these animals and guess who these scientists first blamed?  You guessed it, the United States Military.  It turns out, however, that scientists have now realized that it is the "smartest" fishie on earth that is responsible.  Yes, they were surprised to discover that dolphins are outright murderers.

Vitamin pills 'increase risk of early death'.  Popular vitamin supplements taken by millions of people in the hope of improving their health may do no good and could increase the risk of a premature death, researchers report today.  They warn healthy people who take antioxidant supplements, including vitamins A and E, to try to keep diseases such as cancer at bay that they are interfering with their natural body defences and may be increasing their risk of an early death by up to 16 percent.

Drano Used in Processing Soybeans.  We've been duped into believing soy is a health-giving product because the Asiatic people use soy and are sooooo healthy.  What we weren't told is that the Asiatics ferment the beans in order to eliminate the health hazards. ... [Scroll down] The next step is that the refined oil is mixed with sodium hydroxide — NaOH — which most of us know as Drano, at a temperature of 167°F.  That's right — the exact same corrosive lye you pour down your drain when it's clogged.

Sugar-free gum poses a health hazard.  Chewing too much "sugar-free" gum can lead to severe weight loss and bowel problems, doctors are warning.  Many "sugar-free" products such as chewing gum and sweets contain a sweetener called sorbitol.  It is a sugar alcohol with around a third fewer calories than sucrose, or table sugar.  However, the substance can have laxative effects if taken in large enough amounts — a fact that many people are unaware of because potential side-effects are usually listed in small print on the packaging, say the researchers.

Energy Saving Day flopped, say organisers.  Energy Saving Day was a flop, its organiser admitted last night after the National Grid confirmed that across Britain energy use went up by just over one percent. ... The E Day website encouraged participants to turn off as many appliances as possible and to leave them unused for as long as possible.  But by mid afternoon it was clear from the meters on the Day's website that consumption was about 600 megawatt hours across the country, higher than what the National Grid estimated was used on a normal February day.

Garden Biohazard:  Man Killed By Compost.  A man has died after inhaling lethal spores which grew on rotting compost in his garden.  The 47-year-old fell ill less than 24 hours after being engulfed by "clouds of dust" while working with rotting tree and plant mulch.  At first medics thought the previously healthy welder had pneumonia when he was admitted with severe breathing problems.  But when antibiotics failed to help, tests showed evidence of Aspergillosis, a reaction to Aspergillus spores.

Did thick brush, environmental concerns worsen Martin Fire?  State officials attempted to clear brush two years ago on the piece of land where a fire now raging in Santa Cruz County began, but much of the work was delayed and ultimately not finished because of opposition from two local environmental groups. ... The reserve, an ancient seabed famed for its rare plants and trees, has not had a significant fire since 1948.  As a result, dead trees and brush were piled high.

Kicking the Tires of T. Boone's Natural-Gas Car.  Automakers have been trying to get the public to buy natural gas vehicles since the 1970s.  Yet, despite millions in tax subsidies, today there is only one — count them:  one — -compressed-natural-gas (CNG) product in America's showrooms.  It's the Honda Civic GX and it ain't exactly flying off the shelves.

Superfood rice bran contains arsenic.  Rice bran — a so-called "superfood" — might contain dangerous amounts of a natural poison.  A new study suggests that rice bran, the shavings left over after brown rice is polished to produce white rice grains, contains "inappropriate" levels of arsenic.

Why not raw milk?  For those of you who don't know what raw milk is, let me enlighten you.  Raw milk is milk that has not been pasteurized.  That's right!  Straight from the udder to you! ... Do [the proponents of raw milk] not realize that without pasteurization the safety of consuming that milk is seriously questionable?  That cow lives on a farm, not in a sterile facility!  Where has that udder been; what has it touched; what kinds of bacteria has that milk been exposed to that are not removed because it's not been pasteurized?

States pay a price for bottle deposit laws.  Michigan would have at least $10 million a year more for environmental cleanup if not for people redeeming containers that were bought in other states.

Chicago's 'green' promise fades.  Mayor Richard Daley promised long ago that his administration would start fighting global warming by buying 20 percent of its electricity from wind farms and other sources of green energy.  But more than two years after the deadline he set, the city continues to get nearly all of its power from coal, natural gas and nuclear plants, according to records obtained by the Tribune.

Spokane residents smuggle in real suds over useless "green" brands.  The quest for squeaky-clean dishes has turned some law-abiding people in Spokane into dishwater-detergent smugglers.  They are bringing Cascade or Electrasol in from out of state because the eco-friendly varieties required under Washington state law don't work as well. ... It's not easy to get sparkling dishes when you go green.

Commentary from Greenie Watch:
The phosphate in regular dishwashing detergents also happens to be a basic fertilizer.  Most people who know farms will have heard of superphosphate.  Plants love phosphates.  Just like they love CO2.  Horrors! say the Greenies.  It helps nasty plants to grow too.  Helping farmers to trap fertilizer runoff from their farms would make more sense if there is any real problem with it.

Nuclear only safe option.  Majestic dams set in pristine, forested water catchments become tourist attractions in their own right and their names are bywords in feats of engineering: Hoover, Aswan, Boulder, Three Gorges, Hume.  But they are the deadliest form of power generation known to man.  Hydroelectricity kills thousands each year and claims many more lives than other forms of energy generation — natural gas, LPG, oil and even coal, the mining of which can be perilous.  Dams regularly fail, sometimes catastrophically.  Just three days ago a dam burst in Jakarta killing 77, with 100 people missing.

The Fine Print:  What's Really in a Lot of 'Healthy' Foods.  The yogurt aisle is dizzy these days with products that promise to reduce your cholesterol, control your blood pressure, protect your digestive health or boost your immune system.  In many cases, it's a single ingredient that provides the benefit, and you can find much more of it in other sources.

The Problems with Al Gore:  [Scroll down slowly]  Gore then made the stunning assertion that geothermal resources in the US alone are so enormous that they could meet our entire energy needs for 35,000 years.  Is it not remarkable that we ignore such a vast, unexploited source of energy?  Is it not astonishing that generations of scientists and engineers have failed to recognize the potential for withdrawing virtually limitless amounts of free energy from the Earth?  If the promise of geothermal energy sounds too good to be true, the reason is that it's not true.  The United States gets less than one percent of its energy from geothermal sources.

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Updated October 6, 2021.

©2021 by Andrew K. Dart