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

      Ethanol

      Compact fluorescent light bulbs

      Mass transit and car pooling

      Green jobs

      Electric cars

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


1.6-gallon toilets:

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.


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:

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.

Recycling:

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 Local.se 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?

Hydrogen:

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 Trippy.com 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:

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:

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:

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 stopsmartmeters.org 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:

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:

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.

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.


Vegetarianism:

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.


Miscellaneous:

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!

NY's Renewable Energy Plan Gets Dirty .  New York governor Andrew Cuomo's renewable-energy ambitions are running headlong into the hard realities of maintaining a reliable electric grid.  On July 8, the New York Independent System Operator, the agency charged with managing the state's grid, provided comments on the governor's plan to require utilities to get 50 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2030.  The NYISO maintains that to keep the lights on, the state will have to spend heavily on new transmission infrastructure to accommodate more renewables, preserve all of its nuclear capacity (including the controversial Indian Point Energy Center), and build even more onshore wind-energy capacity in upstate communities.  Five days after the NYISO filed its comments, Cuomo's energy czar, Richard Kauffman, fired off an angry — and rather bizarre — letter to Brad Jones, the NYISO president and CEO.  Calling the grid operator's comments "misleading, incomplete, and grossly inaccurate," Kauffman claimed that the NYISO showed "an alarming lack" of understanding of "how a modern grid can be developed and operated."

How Renewable Energy Is Blowing Climate Change Efforts Off Course .  Is the global effort to combat climate change, painstakingly agreed to in Paris seven months ago, already going off the rails?  Germany, Europe's champion for renewable energy, seems to be having second thoughts about its ambitious push to ramp up its use of renewable fuels for power generation.  Hoping to slow the burst of new renewable energy on its grid, the country eliminated an open-ended subsidy for solar and wind power and put a ceiling on additional renewable capacity.  Germany may also drop a timetable to end coal-fired generation, which still accounts for over 40 percent of its electricity, according to a report leaked from the country's environment ministry.  Instead, the government will pay billions to keep coal generators in reserve, to provide emergency power at times when the wind doesn't blow or the sun doesn't shine.

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.

German Experience With Green Power A Lesson Obama Should Learn.  Since the early 1990s, Germany has gone to great lengths to replace fossil-fuel-generated electricity with renewables.  Renewable electricity accounted for nearly 30% of the country's electricity by the end of 2014.  Germany is thus roughly where Obama hopes to take America over the next 15 years — he's even called on Americans to "look at Berlin" for inspiration.  But what are Germany's results?  Dramatically higher energy costs for businesses and consumers, an increasingly unstable electricity grid and a recent increase in carbon emissions.

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].

Feds Pull Plug on Wave Power Project.  The federal government has cancelled permits for a wave power project on the California coast.  Renewable power advocates had hailed the project as an alternative to conventional energy sources.

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.

The collapse of the green-energy bubble.  The parallel-energy universe known as renewables, a place where dollars and economic theory know no bounds and make no sense, looks increasingly like a bubble set to collapse.

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Updated March 29, 2017.

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